I just posted the below “prose poem” (or whatever) in response to Linh Dinh’s poem Rupture, for what it (my piece, I mean)’s worth….
The “I” in the next poem is not me. It is a rhetorical device, a psychological-being-state marker designed to make you feel comfortable as the poem progresses. Of course, the poem does not progress: “progress” is a rhetorical term designed to make you feel comfortable with the sense of alienation the next poem means to produce. Not that it means something, necessarily; meaning is a social construct, an image projected on spindrift, so I don’t mean to imply that the next poem means something, or to be exact, something in particular. And I didn’t mean to imply a coherent self just now when I used the word “I” outside the context of the next poem; we know there is no such thing as the self—no I, no you. The implication is that a text is no more than the words that happened onto the page. You, if a “you” existed, could say that I, if “I” existed, composed the next poem, though the term “poem” is a social construct, which is to say that the following text may not satisfy your preconceptions of what a poem should be, which in turn may make you feel uncomfortable and heighten your sense of alienation. Whether I or the “I” in the next poem should be blamed, or the blame should belong to you alone, or should be apportioned between us, is a question best left to some future critic of my work—assuming such a person ever exists. Contingency! My work is nothing if not an homage to contingency. But why are you all getting up from your chairs? Why are you moving toward the exit? Sit down, you bastards! Please—sit down. Really. Whatever it is, it’s about to begin.