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Re: violence & poetry

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  • Trinidad Cruz
    So it s hard things today. The fundamental problem for the writer with the remembrance and recording of violence is that it s titillating. The level of the
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 4, 2004
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      So it's hard things today. The fundamental problem for the writer with
      the remembrance and recording of violence is that it's titillating.
      The level of the prurient curiosity of a society in general with
      violence is directly indicative of its level of intellectual maturity.
      For the intellectually mature writer today exposing the violence to
      public scrutiny carries with it the responsibility to develop a
      negating dialectic of the fundamental causes of the violence, or at
      the least a literary confrontation beyond a simple expose. We live in
      a world where violence is commonly accepted as a pragmatic solution
      for discomfitting situations, and sexual activity is veiwed as a
      fundamental human weakness. How then can we express any surprise that
      violence is regularly used in this world to obtain sex and/or control
      of a sexual partner? If we are to approach the subject of violence in
      a literary endeavor we are unequivocally bound to address the cause.
      For some writers personally engaged with the subject, this is too high
      a cost, and stunned wounded recollection is all they are capable of
      producing. For others the responsibility is unbearable, and they
      become lost in a miasmal circuitous journey into the madness of the
      species, ultimately touching their own insanity, often ending in
      suicide. For a few, it is a lifelong work ending only with complete
      exhaustion.

      When I was nine years old my father and mother attended a Boy Scout
      Jamboree with me. Some of the older Scouts had set up an organized
      exposition of various callisthentic exercises which onlookers could
      participate in if they so desired. The ever eager nine-year-old, I
      opted for one particular exercise and managed to do 50 repetitions,
      the last ten with one of the older boys in attendance applying a
      gradually increasing amount of resistance to my efforts by pushing
      against my back. Later that evening around the dinner table as I was
      relating my experience that day to my sisters and brothers, my father
      began to downplay my acheivement, stating that I didn't do 50
      repetitions, and that the older boys were helping me at the end. My
      mother looked across the table at me with genuine compassion for my
      situation which only served to agitate me more toward my father's
      bullying. I began to argue vehemently with him, angered that he chose
      to humiliate me in front of the family. My mother looked at me with
      the look she always gave me when she thought it was neccessary for me
      to indulge my father for my own well-being. For some reason I just
      couldn't stop that evening, and became angry with her for betraying me
      and taking his side. I yelled at her, "What's the matter with you?" My
      father's reaction was immediate. He hit me full force, in the center
      of my face with his left fist, smashing my nose and driving my upper
      lip through my front teeth, the blow itself with enough impetus to
      send me backward off my chair unconscious skidding on my back across
      the kitchen floor about seven feet ending up crumpled under the sink
      in the bathroom. When I began to come around it was strangely silent
      around me. No one even walked over to see if I was OK. I pulled myself
      up off the floor and looked in the mirror. My nose and mouth were
      mashed and bleeding, I was bleeding from one ear, my white T-shirt was
      completely red. I began to hate, and hate as hard as I could. It
      boiled up in me like an explosion. Then I began to hear again and
      recognize my mother screaming. I screamed at the top of my lungs, "I
      hate you, I hate you. Look what you did to me. I'm gonna kill you. If
      you ever touch me again I'll kill you." He laughed. I said, "I'll kill
      you when you're sleeping you son of a bitch." and ran out of the room.
      I went upstairs and locked the bedroom door, and sat down with my back
      to the door with my baseball bat in my hands. I did not come out of
      that room for two days. My father knocked or pounded on that door
      several times trying to talk to me, but never once saying he was
      sorry, and I replied every time, "I'm gonna kill you. Don't ever hurt
      me again." In retrospect I know my mother probably saved my life that
      day. I let my mother in the room late that night after my father had
      gone to sleep. She said, "He's just too big. He can't contol himself.
      You can't kill him. He'll kill you." I said, "I'll kill him when he's
      sleeping." She said, "What if he wakes up?"

      It has always been the Goddess who saved my life. When I grew into a
      sizeable and brutally strong young man, and could easily have beaten
      my father to death, my mother stood between us and forbid me to harm
      him for her sake, but it was really for my sake too. She endured him
      for me, for my day, and in the end has turned him into a respectable
      and genuinely remorseful man capable of humility and kindness. I
      believe in the strength and goodness of women in this world even to
      say that most of what is good here is because of them. The Goddess has
      shown me that I am far more powerful in my literary prowess than my
      physical prowess. My responsibility to her is to never cease in its
      honest exhibition. My responsibility to myself is to understand and
      explain the causes of violence in human nature and give no quarter to
      the loud-speakers and loud-writers justifying violence as a pragmatic
      solution. I fail regularly, even losing my temper on occasion, but as
      long as I can write the possibility for success exists.

      Justifying violence as a pragmatic solution for sociological ills is a
      break with authenticity because the violence is always presented as
      something temporal and controllable and destined to end when the ill
      is healed. To be authentically for violence as a pragmatic solution to
      societal ills one must abandon all law and all control, and kill and
      die to the end; and when there are only two people left in world the
      bloodlust might be finally breifly quenched. Alas, where do you go
      from there? A third must inevitably appear and the whole thing begins
      again. We must find a new behavioral solution for the species, and the
      only place it can be is language. We must learn to explain ourselves
      to one another, and learn to understand one another, or continue to die.

      "forever free"
      Trinidad Cruz
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