Or how was it that the cohort were caught
An unknowable self, subsumed to routines of dis-eased self subsumed to other self subsumed to proper self, clutching testicles protectively, properly male. The other hand force feeds an open mouth. Forces down fistfuls of meat. This is what hope has become: a belief that flesh alone will substantiate a known self.
And each limb I cannot quite order. Entangled by a wire tight snare I bite into myself, in utter control of the situation.
To seek release. Chewed through bone, I’m all stumps. But to prove otherwise, I cannot resist the weights; Explosive fibres! Make a show of this sweat. And pulling and twisting and straining I grin at this agony with an “as if” sneer.
This all began to unfold during the First World War. Let’s hear it for traumatic neuroses; cheers from the medical community, our virginity must be invigilated.
No, before that: “The transformation of the concept of hysteria began during the later part of the 19th century when there were persistent and continuous railway accidents.” (Marlowe.) The ‘nervous shock’ of modernism impacts upon the spine. Ah yes, these mountains and hills may be the spine of the country but the railway is the thing which gave our revolution its backbone. Thus corsetry played its part, straight laced and on parade. Yet the crooked will dig the trenches and the trenches will make us crooked. Once all the whale bone has gone then another type of brace will be required for our paralysed spies. I meant to write spines…
At which point someone will break rank and say the self IS knowable; the self is perfectly transparent. Transparency and accountability does not easily give away understanding. The self is not knowable as self. That is, self is not knowable in self. Which is perhaps the only excuse for Apocalypse Now as a war movie. It’s not the war as was or is but self as war as is and thus utterly knowable and quite see-through and hysterical.
“But our society and culture produce powerful inducements to identify a single cause for the range of symptoms that remain undiagnosed in some Gulf War veterans. A “good” person should have good health, society admonishes, and if that person’s health is bad, the cause must be external. Additionally, if medical science can identify a cause, it can find a cure. Thus simply identifying a problem’s source can eliminate it.” (Marlowe.)
Pathogens: a threat that can be received through the mail box is a threat that may be classified as homely.
Original first published in Inventory: losing, finding, collecting. Vol.4 No.3 2002