Saturday, June 15, 2013

Intention to Critical Analysis

(Not sure if this is a poem, or it seemed like it would be easier to read with the lines broken up. Either way, inspired by the beginning of Judith Butler's "Giving an Account of Oneself")

To quote Paul Simon and to misquote the Lord,
I know what I know, I say what I say, I am what I am.
This simplicity is simply false, it’s
Self-duplicity of the most basic variety:  To think my body is defined only by this skin,
Or that these thoughts emerge in this head,
Or that these experiences just are.

I feel naïve. My particularity (and privilege) offer a protective deafness
That allows me to hear my thoughts as my own, blessed and cursed by the experience
Of individuality.

I feel young. I would always prefer to think
That I am putting together new ideas, uncovering original perspectives,
Doing the world a favor with my words.

I feel illusioned. When I attempt to step outside perspective I find perspective.
Authenticity and legitimacy, in any absolute sense,
Would only be the domains of a divine that will someday be,
While I am only now just arriving, just looking, just learning.

So this is my intention, to discover my others, to face my spaces that are filled
With what is not-myself:

First, listen.
Second, speak tentatively.
Third, seek out the roots of these thoughts, the conditions of these experiences.
Fourth, ask my hypothetical others—what would my father say? What would my mother say? What would my partner say? What would my enemy say? What would my strangers say?
Fifth, ask the others.

Finally, listen.

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