Free Writing in a 6th Grade Class

In class today, in a free-writing period I offered this to the gods:

If my throat were a cave would my words hang like bats?
If my eyes were eclipses would pinholes reveal me?
If my teeth were tombstones would they order the dirt?

My “working papers” (drafts) accompany the post.

Recently, my good friend Eric (a teacher in St. Louis) shared something of Eliot’s he liked called “Hysteria” and you can find this in my scratchings today.

As she laughed I was aware of becoming involved in her laughter and being part of it, until her teeth were only accidental stars with a talentfor squad-drill. I was drawn in by short gasps, inhaled at each momentary recovery, lost finally in the dark caverns of her throat, bruised by the ripple of unseen muscles. An elderly waiter with trembling hands was hurriedly spreading a pink and white checked cloth over the rusty green iron table, saying: “If the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden, if the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden …” I decided that if the shaking of her breasts could be stopped, some ofthe fragments of the afternoon might be collected, and I concentrated my attention with careful subtlety to this end.

We argued a bit over it.  I find it self-consciously psychological.  I know there is a conveyance of real “hysteria” in the man rather than the woman which was a typical diagnosis of the era (1915) when

Freud was really just hitting his stride.  Perhaps it is self-revealing.  The poet seems aware of the sexuality of the situation and 100 years on we

might think it pedestrian in its clandestine nature, but there is something that hints of a deep disturbance in those “unseen muscles” that are as likely vaginal as throat–a commutative figuration.

It is clearly not the giddy awareness of female as object–as an order bunch of jiggling parts to capture a boy’s limbic attention.

But is is highly “written” and confesses it as the poet collects fragments and concentrations “to this end.”

What was subtle about it?

Needless to say, I did not share “Hysteria” with the class.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

I'm the guy who wrote what you just read. If you want to know more drop me a note.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Glorifying War Shall Not Grow Old

Concerning War Movies (prompted by a conversation about Peter Jackson’s movie They Shall Not Grow Old). In J. D. Salinger’s […]

Cutting Down the Clouds

This winter they are cutting down our woods more seriously than ever,—Fair Haven Hill, Walden, Linnaea Borealis Wood, etc. etc. […]

Representative Texts from Hawthorne to Dickinson

In your daily busyness you are pressed for time to think and often choose instead anesthetization – watching any number […]

Between Hope and Defeat, History and Heaven

“God himself culminates in the present moment.” (Thoreau) What is “now” for? What if you “know” the future? Fairy tales […]

Absolute Solutions Necessary

Only two things to do: 1. zero out carbon emissions 2. exception: all technological and scientific labor exploring new solutions […]

Rachel Carson’s book had no real effect

Facing Global Climate Disruption and the End of Everything All At Once… David Wallace-Wells’ The Uninhabitable Earth tries very hard […]