by Eric Phetteplace
Indulgent destruction
of a mind mired in symbols
with reality some rodent
kept in a cage under your childhood bed.
Chromatophores in each pore, you move
like a cuttlefish / blend with each bookcase
and graphical user interface. My coccyx
licks a razor / sly Malone dies
of boredom in an underwear drawer.
We could collapse into private utopias
bring a bathroom wherever we go
but life’s so soft, so posh / let’s watch
television and Tylenol bottles / bubble
baths and umbrage. Some snide nihilists
can take anything and turn it to a desert
can destitute a rich man in no time.
I prefer plenitude / wealth runs away
build a break / sever as a subset of make.

0 thoughts on “Autotomy

  1. Real tough. Means to be obscure. But challenges are fun, right? “A mind mired in symbols” is probably the poet’s, for it describes the poem. Maybe the poem is indulging such a mind’s “destruction.” “Reality”–presumably the non-symbolic world–is “some rodent kept in cage under your childhood bed.” In the unconscious, or dismissed from consideration? When he says “you” I think the poet means “I,” a quasi-autonomous symbolic creature: a squid with chromatophores and a coccyx. “Graphical user interface” evokes the symbolic. Don’t get the Malone reference, but he dies from his tailbone licking a razor–of “boredom in an underwear drawer.” Is this sexual? I like the idea of collapsing “into private utopias” bringing “a bathroom wherever we go,” and it seems like he’s saying with the “but” that “life’s so soft, so posh” anyway, that we might as well commune with TV and Tylenol–palliations of our pain, equivalent to “bubble baths and umbrage.” Seems to me the “snide nihilist” sentence should contain a “who”…”can take anything and turn it to desert.” I like those calling everything into question destituting “a rich man (a symbol-rich man?) in no time.” The poet prefers plenty, so his autonomy is at risk from “wealth” running away. “Sever as a subset of make” corresponds to “build a break.” Could he be saying that to build a world of meaning for ourselves we have to indulge in destroying it, breaking it up into symbols, and then move and blend with them?

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