poem, forgive me

by jdavidcharles

I’ve decided to post my commentary after my poems rather than before from hereon out as this gives you the opportunity to form your own thoughts about the poem. After all, I am just as much a commentator on the poem as you. Being the author doesn’t entitle me to anything.

poem forgive me

Never held to the weight
of that anchorage. But
then again
                  relating can
be more fucking, the
reeming out of skin, till,
bearing the fullness of
the body you stand
             and unashamed
(as the saying goes)–
two fingers
                   bound tight
and right
                to the cusp of
the wall–skin folded
back on skin to redden
the lip of that flesh,
                      the tearing
and rawness there.
yourself up: this is something
you must do for yourself.


A comment on the poem:

I think the notion of “forgiveness” is an odd one. Feeling like one needs to be forgiven is to be alienated, out of place, to not be in one’s own body. We turn to, of all people, the ones we hurt and expect them to be able to put us back in our body. What a strange thing. Where do we get off feeling the entitlement to make the one’s we hurt responsible for such a thing? It struck me that this is similar to what we look for in love. Sex puts one in one’s body precisely by putting oneself out and into someone(s) else’s. We make another responsible, the one we displace into, to put us back in place. Strange.

When we give someone that whole weight (“forgive me because I can’t forgive myself” or “make love to me because I am insecure about my body”)  there is something terrible about it. Just think of the unfortunately typical problem of heterosexual male entitlement. He does not find his own body erotic, because, after all, if he actually enjoyed masturbating it would be homosexual or not masculine or some such bullshit. For Lacan this would mean his masturbation is not a Symptom–an obsessive, insatiable pleasure (an unfillable desire)–but rather a “s”ymptom–something which is simply pleasurable in its own right (one kind of sex among many). Because of this, during intercourse the woman must bear the erotic weight of both bodies, she must both be presentable as an object(-to-be-viewed) and make his body erotic. She must not only give him her body (“make love to me”) but must put him in his own body as well (“but also make me lovable”).

This happens with forgiveness as well–expecting the one we hurt to forgive us, not just for the wrong we did, but for the person we are. The injunction is not simply “forgive me,” but also “make me forgivable.” This is also what we often force upon a text, thus the title of my poem. We expect the novel or poem or movie to not only become an object for us but to make us into a good and comfortable reader or viewer. Just as this is misogynistic and cruel in the case of the hypothetical couple above, so too this is to place a terrible burden on the text. Sometimes you have to woo the text. You have to forgive and love and accept yourself before the novel can accept you as a reader. Here we touch on shame. I don’t think you can love someone very well if you are ashamed. You need to be comfortable in your body before you can be comfortable entrusting it to someone else. It’s too much weight to expect them to touch it and make you comfortable being an object of touch.

Or maybe that’s just me. Anywho. Hope that clarified the poem some without completely and thoroughly spoiling it.