Sunday, December 23, 2012


Whether she carries oatcakes
Or an obsidian dagger
The fatality of danger
Pricks her perturbation.

She could traverse dark labyrinths
Held by her unwavering serenity
Yet stippling her inflamed senses
Is the sated reality of cleaving

Yet the cleaving she is given
Relinquishes her being
By transmuting the revelatory
With brute coercion.

Streaked with lustrous transcendence
She counteracts sordid kitsch
Yet shaped by a narrative unheld
Pirouettes to foreclosed possibility

Yet the vestige of the impalpable
Render her pliable to metamorphoses
And transform her inexorable fate
Into arabesques of apotheosis.

Friday, December 14, 2012


The hinges squeak
Stippling the eardrums
With daubs of disquiet
Because an infinitesimal
Anomaly, if borne out
Becomes congealed.

Yet air, instead of rushing in
Gathered together like a seam
Funnels out in one whoosh of expulsion
Leaving, in its wake, emptiness
And attenuated being.

Reconstitution is inconceivable
As the door swings back and forth.
Circuitous causality renders the
Cycle of grief and joy, like an image
Reduplicating, wavering, at times blurring
But latent.

The mirror by the wall registers
The motion/motionless door,
Opening and shutting, so that,
The image and fate, reflection
And causality, represent (re) present
With the irrevocable finality of destiny.

Yet the interstices in the door
As it caves in, billows leaves room
For a spark of hope to set in, which
As the door finally jambs shut
Regresses to nothingness.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


While structures of logic reduplicate they shrivel  and coil in circumlocutory whorls. Emanated from a consciousness that is based on the law of regression, this luminous quest for meaning traverses ontology in reverse and telos forwards. By tracing back to a nebulous parthenogenesis an immutablility reality is arrived at. The constituents of this reality are unequivocally singular yet these particularities reconstitute into arabesques studded with filaments of iridescence whose momentary sheen irradiates meaning. The whole, the collective is a mirror which spawns and replicates its image of itself but it is in the specificities of the specular image, the sifted through cornucopia of dimensions it encompasses, that reality resides, a disaggregated reality but a reality whose fragmentary incompleteness congeals meaning, conceptualizes being and ratifies multifariousness.

If introspection splits and introjection alienates then where does metaphysics arise? It arises from that indeterminate hinterland where the apocryphal and an unknown actual meet. Evanescence imbues meaning through crystallization. In making of the loophole of actuality a discourse on unknowability metaphysics reaffirms its patina of uncertainty. When uncertainty becomes a raison d etre it also becomes a site of transcendence. Corporeality, stippled with kaleidoscopes, susurrates to the music of the spheres while its sheath, the mortal frame becomes a superfluous integument whose seat of power the soul peregrinates the hitherto unplumbed. A dislocation has occured, an unavoidable dispossession yet no substitution has occured. On the contrary the impalpable has divested knowingness of its illusory appurtenances.

Yet this untapped realm is of us, by us. It brought us into being. It validated existence by virtue of its incorporeality. Like tabula rasa we came , equipped with nothing but that metaphysical mirror, before whose alternating reflections we sought to reconfigure ourselves, create forms out of phantoms, give shape to the formless, explicate the inchoate. And in that penumbral realm where the reality, unknown as it is and the design we shape it to intersect, the unconscious is born. Metaphysics is interstitial, between thought and word, conception and perception, meaning and fact, life and beyond life.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

This silence among words

The frayed striations syncopate
To the arpeggios of meaning
While unthinking lucidity obviates
Mosaics of cognition.

Arabesques of verbs
Stud the string with circularity
As the constituent attenuations
Refract and disperse sense.

Yet the clogged syllables, self contained
Frolic on the semantic turf
While stertorous, ponderous sentences
Unspool into fragmented layers.

The immovable quietude signifies
Leaching of putative purports
While streaking the desiccated edges
Of chaos with sublimated dimensions.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Entombed in the catacomb of the moon
She reposed with thoughts of abandon
Though stippled by daubs of unease
With sensuality they were in tandem.
Tall, dark handsome she sought
With the accompaniment of force
She fancied her tiny warbling mews
Subsumed by his baritone hoarse.
She could traverse the runnel of his frame
With her abrasive tongue
And stroke with hands, spiked by nails
Runnels where his febrile furs hung.
yet when streaks of daylight ripple
The seamless image in the mirror
Striations of disquiet stud her being
And make her tremulous integument quiver
Suspended in the dichotomy of desire and negation
She augments deception in broad light
Yet the dark knight of her somnambulist dreams
Is never far from her sight.


At a time when the svelte Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi were gyrating their toned bodies in westernized garments to bollywood songs , at a time when Dimple Kapadia Wore a bikini , the south indian film industry was churning. They had had a spate of dichotomous good/bad, heroine/villainess classification and functioned within these antinomies in a self righteous way. Sexuality was kept under wraps and a puritanical reticence was promulgated with occasional iconoclastic ripples but an otherwise unchanged moral superstructure.

Enter silk Smitha a dark, voluptuous woman who dared to flaunt her sexuality, unafraid to show her curves, even rejoicing in her unconventional plumpness. At a time when a certain physical type of body was burgeoning Silk smitha dared to bare. Be it as a seductress or temptress or an item girl her irresistible allure ruled the industry down south for 15 yrs. In her real life persona too  contradictory terms have been used to describe her. There was an incident when the megastar shivaji ganeshan entered the studio and everyone stood up respectfully or obsequiously except silk who crossed one leg over the other and sat undaunted. Later she was to say that she remained sitting because she felt apprehensive about her revealing dress.

So what is it about this dark, plump woman that without her a movie was incomplete and who became the sole reason for moviegoers to go to the cinema hall. Perhaps she actualized and rendered palpable the collective fantasy of the south indian male. Subterranean eroticism embodied in repression or vicariously realized in soft porn malayalam pulp  suddenly became mainstream. What Silk smitha demonstrated was a divesting of double standards and hypocritical accoutrements as she extricated what was nascent and dormant and exposed it. In any film industry a substratum of sexuality proliferates underneath a respectable veneer. Sex is ubiquitous though sanctimoniously disavowed. Silk Smitha exposed this undercurrent of sexuality and exposed an industry's camouflaged self deceptions. Yet she was self righteously repudiated. The word 'dirty' was used by many women down south when i spoke about here. 'Cheap', 'vulgar' were other moral opprobrium lavishly bestowed. But that which was lodged in the male psyche was exposed and therein lay her feminism.

While her exposure of the body meant playing into the male gaze it also implied a stripping away of the male gaze's self created defense mechanisms. Silk Smitha is both id and superego. She is the primordial, earthily sensuous woman yet her cinematic ratification implies that her allure was distilled and measured circumspectly by the patriarchal superego. Yet the primitive sheen was unobliterated, rather enhanced by these metonymic significations. Even now, retroactively it is difficult to conceptualize how a dark skinned, plump woman could rule the roost and whose appeal, while it temporally lasted, was unalterably consistent. A comfort with one's body, no matter what one's size was epitomized by silk. It also revealed that the anorexic, bag of bones heroines were just pleasurable barbie dolls meant to sing and dance. The impalpable yet incontrovertible eroticism lay in a physiognomy that didn't correspond to the stereotype or the dominant discourse.

Silk Smitha's baroque variations of sexual nonconformity manifested themselves multifariously. In Sadma she was the coy yet bold seductress trying to woo kamal hassan. Her ability to perform bold lovemaking scenes must surely have liberated south indian cinema. As a homosexual i remember fancying myself in her place and syncopating to the rococo pyrotechnics of unbridled  sexuality. No woman had dared to be so blatantly seductive. Through some indeterminate loophole in the self justifying metaphysics  of the industry, she inveigled herself in and once ensconced was difficult to dislodge.

Along a lateral spectrum Silk Smitha emerges as being on an equal level with her co stars in the roles she performs. Her sexuality is indubitably a weapon but she is not the demure woman demanding security and saccharine, candy floss love. She calls for an egalitarian commingling, a at times impersonal yet tantalizing intersection of flesh with flesh. She bares her bosom, exposes her thunder thighs and the south indian male is titillated uncontrollably. While her patriarchal subsumption is indisputable her emergent feminist consciousness is something  her 21st century counterparts owe her gratitude to.


There is a void, a blank, featureless palimpsest whose underwriting has been blurred and blunted by the attrition of nothingness. An attrition which came out of nothingness and dissolves in nothingness and is, in fact, itself nothingness. From this empty space stretches of time recede and progress, ebb and flow suffused with the potentialities of completion. Yet the story
, if there is one, is unknowable just as the reality, contained within the story is unfathomable. An ineffable parthenogenesis constitutes this emptiness, a tabula rasa, unfilled by threaded filigrees of association. We can call this inchoate yet inchoateness is inadequate. An ipso facto blank hieroglyph is both containment and unfettering. The hole is to be filled, the interstices seamed and the only way this can occur is through a story. We find meaning by writing the scroll of the hieroglyphic, we scratch away at the void of the palimpsest and the crease of our calloused palms become the substratum of meaning. We could say we come out of meaninglessness or we could say that we create meaninglessness in order to bring meaning into being.

The story thus emerges from the vast hinterland of the imagination. I think therefore i am or perhaps I am therefore i think. The indubitability of being brings cognition into being. Conversely one could argue that narrative coherence precedes being because we shape our beings by becoming or that in order to be we become. So does the story predate us or do we date the story by attributing an ontology. The story has an indeterminate telos because by itself it is infinite and measureless, yet because a pattern has been created, a pattern intransigently fluid significations of alternate beginning, middle and end are indefatigably expressed yet rendered impalpable.

So if the story encompasses nebulous vastitudes yet forecloses them in a system of thought that explicates then perhaps the story becomes by itself the incontrovertible reality. The calcined bones of the story, retroactively decomposing, encase mottled flesh we sheathe it with. The bare bones, the story lies buried in gossamer regions but the story they tell is the story we make out of it. The impasse of non being is interminable and its bleached constituents unlocatable. But we need a leap of faith, the will to believe and we give birth to an episteme which furnishes self knowledge and constitutes hubristic self deception . This becomes our story.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Ensconced in the sacrophagus of purity
Beauty extrapolates her mind
Dreaming of, under glittering daylight
Of the mauve penumbra of secrecy.

Outward compliance in her belies
A inner tumultuous churning
Unaware of which she, listless
Passes fruitlessly lonesome days.

She, dreaming, kneads her imagination
With visions of  swirling, spiraling acts
That transmute the bleached quotidian
With sublimely kitsch freneticism.

She yields supine, to her fancies
Of the hulking, looming beast
As she fancies his stippled crenellations
She swoons in undisguised eroticism.

She proffers herself up, to be ravaged
By a counteracting forceful force
Awake she blanches, with disgust
At the dark nature of her imaginings

Gilded and aureoled by virginity
Desirous of subsumption, fearful of despoilation
She whiles and fritters the time between the
Illusion of life, reality of dreams.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Narrative of the faucet

Under the insistent pressure of the knob
Acc/decelerated streams of water unfurl
A fusillade of swamping overflow
Alongside a dribbling, sputtering out.
Corporeal lineaments cleanse and
Divest layers of accumulated grime
As traversing the runnels of the body
The water funnels down the drain.

The beige colored walls register
As do the mauve curtains
The impassive flow of water
And the attendant impersonality
Speckled drops of water gleam
Coruscatingly as the neon light
Flashes, ricochets and refracts
Prisms of commingled flesh and fluid.

Spouting, sucking in, releasing, absorbing
The self sufficient faucet does its work
Though it depends on the whimsy of
It's interlocutor, its permanence endures.
Yet the mortal frame, invidious believes
Himself the master of technology
The faucet, in numerous forms
Bemused, goes about its work.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


The impassive mirror
Peremptory, neutral
Reflects speleology
Not as it is but
As it is seen.

Yet the quest to locate
A fulcrum or point of fixity
Is rendered essential, essentialist
Perhaps, by the image the mirror proffers.

Ellipses (re) presentation, projections
Variegatedly intersect and a nebulous
Identity defined against this flux
Of contradictory reflections.

One is not one, yet not other
The reflection, a priori, doesn't lie
But distilled through a subjective aegis
Becomes a site of unbridled self deception.

The other doesn't need the self
As much as the self needs it yet
Though absent, unrepresentable,the other
Is indispensable for the self.

The other, with vestiges of sanctity
Silhouettes an indeterminate self which
Riven by tenuous self conception
Itself becomes the other.

Friday, October 5, 2012


A blueprint of amorphous unconscious forces, a demonstration of the underlying anteriority within inner space constitutes much of psychosis. A psychotic's perception is distorted and rendered hallucinatory by virtue of certain neurochemical anomalies and dysfunctions . They may see things, hear voices and perceive, through inchoate meanderings, a fundamentally twisted and convoluted spiraling inwardness that an infant inside the placenta is doubled up, folded in on itself, both self enclosed and self contained. The amniotic fold is the sheathe which simultaneously circumscribes and liberates.. Psychosis projects, through indeterminacy of reason, propensities that detonate and undermine structures of ego and superego. Yet, though possessed of the id's primevality, the superego's punitive, retributiveness is equally present in a psychotic mind.

Inturned expostulations and circumlocutions often mirror a mirror's relationship to the one who looks at it. The mirror ( conscious) faithfully and impassively, within the closed circle of self and self reflects that which is proffered to it. Yet the corporeal worldliness of the mirror implies that any gaze directed upon it, though unreflectingly ricocheted attenuates and becomes representative of measured self communion for the interlocutor. The more frenetic the distance from an ostensible reality, the more indefatigable is the impulse to penetrate the truth. It is not twice removed but symbiotically cleaved to a reality that goes back and forth because there can be no image without the mirror and no mirror unless an image yields itself up as subject/object.

Inaccurate overdeterminations may implacably attune the flux of images and patterns of being into ontological tremulousness yet the reality of overcompensated for external reality, distilled through frantic hallucinogenic gropings, is ineluctably interlinked and intermeshed in a psychotic's consciousness. As stated, the interlocutor's perception, the fervor of his propinquity/distance from the image signifies his ambivalent and equivocal peregrination of the real whose impersonating of itself as real cannot negate its autogenetic self constitution. Yet a modicum of collective complicity renders this putative real real. And it is this real, whose inadvertent/perhaps willing repudiation causes the psychotic to surrender to the propulsive ferocity of proliferating delusions whose depredations take numerous forms but whose constituents are unambiguously singular.

Ellipses, misrepresentations, metonymic slippages are perhaps natural because the suppression of exteriority is in direct proportion to its unmitigated representation in the mirror. But because the reality, compounded, rendered metaphorical through depersonalization underpins its variegated dimensions, it is of necessity, intra real yet inter real. Intra because its monologic colloquy due to outer repudiations and inter because it can coexist inextricably but cannot commingle, without disastrous consequences as such interpenetration renders a sense of selfhood, however tenuous, into obliterated non being. A leap of faith may confer an illusory intermarriage, buttressed by imagination but two incontestably dyadic realities cannot intermingle though they can intersect. The image cannot become the mirror nor the mirror coalesce with the image.

Interventions, disavowals depersonalize the depersonalization of the psychotic. Riven by divisions the psychotic's fragmentation within his self existent world causes a relocation of his dispossession into the arena of the acceptable. The gaze into the mirror is palpably not disavowed but the perceiving consciousness has metamorphosed. It still sees itself in a narcissistic self regard but because its self regard is validated, celebrated and consecrated as a return to the real its gaze is overlooked. Perhaps this gaze is the individual's sifting through the debris of the collective or an affirmation of its singularity within the collective.

Psychosis was never an undifferentiated dispersal of reality into constituent unreals. Rather it was a para reality that amplified the veracity and uncertainty of the so called real through redoubling, mis/re apperception, reconstitution, reordering and recreation. Yet its representativeness, because based on unreason ( though there is no ipso facto reason) resulted in a kind of reappropriation whose precariourness and removal from the collective made it appear as irrational. The self couldn't see the mirror as a mirror but only its image. Once it could differentiate between being and image, dislocation and diffusion, dismembering and becoming and mirror and selfhood, it reemerged from the cauldron of id, never eschewing its presence or validity but reconstructing its dynamics into a seamless navigation. Psychosis, unobliterated but redistributed and redefined, singularly indelible yet collectively intertwined, part but whole.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Prim, iconoclast, fluid, crystalline
She traverses tradition's ream
In an endeavor to find her voice
She unravels convention's seam.

The frayed desiccation of contemporaneity
Stipples her effort with futility
Yet the archetypal telos of her being
Suffuses anachronism with utility.

In that timeless, clogged realm
Where identity meets fate
She, negation of her own self
Inhabits a dislocated state.

Out of this displacement
She seeks to pierce vitreous custom
By finding that which defines her inadequate
she tries to her new reality accustom

Today she proliferates, with ubiquity
The labyrinth of a once male portal
Imbuing the ambiguity of obliquity
Of her profession by rendering it immortal.

She penetrates the nooks of inwardness
To extricate moments of being
And out of her putative waywardness
Would apotheosis be seeing.

No longer does she propitiate
Or obsequy  to the male
She, now an old hand, no initiate
Is unafraid to fail.

Yet times when she is condescended
To, she responds in a way that befits
However, having her new space ascended
Her fate, by her own hands is writ.


Humpty Dumpty has a reality but the realness of that reality is uncertain. Humpty Dumpty has had experiences but has never experienced them. His tenuousness of being counterpoints his obdurate self regard. Encased in the aureole of  a complacent being he inhabits the wall the way an onlooker inhabits the mirror. The wall extrojects his being whilst projecting his effluvium onto itself. It becomes a symbol of the reality he siphons off because it is disagreeable.

Like a lordly infant, whose importunate needs necessitate gratification, Humpty reposes majestically. Yet like all intransigent upstarts he will fall and he will fall because he was, albeit temporally inhabited, unreal. The wall is that in him that he cannot outface nor is he that which cannot be outfaced. But obdurate in denying experience his outfaced propensity diminishes while that of being outfaced augments.

What we essentially see then is an apocryphal wholeness that has split since the wholeness was an abstraction. Yet within the seemingly indestructible solipsistic world Humpty inhabits, for the wall is nothing but a mirror self refracting, ricocheting, only a desideratum of self awareness filters, which though momentarily ascendant, is immediately dissolved. If Humpty were to beat his head against the wall/mirror it would remain impassive. The inviolate mirror/intractable wall is unaltered though Humpty will be transformed.  What he is, what he has created himself as, what he should be and what he wants to be have intersected and blended so confusedly that even a modicum of veracity is obliterated. All that remains is an impasse, a chasm in whose churning waters a precarious physiognomy sees itself, blurring, wavering , eventually reduced to nothingness.

The fall occurs. Hubris is recompensed. The mirror ( which was always within yet without) cracks, splinters and Humpty, in insensible inertia is immovable. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Plath was not schizophrenic but she was a split woman, oscillating between conflicting irreconcilables. A woman in a man's world, a poet and a homemaker, a mother and a worldly successful. Yet plath, except in her last months before death was very adept at dissimulation. People who knew her had trouble reconciling the bright, american girl to the neurotic p
oet who killed herself. This corresponds to Laing's notion of a false self and a true self. The false self confers a simulacrum of sanity, a modicum of functioning but when the real self rears its head psychosis or splitting is an invariable result. It is my contention that, unlike laing's the camouflage was what kept plath going. When her real self emerged, it was forceful enough to end in obliteration.

But as another Laingian strand it is not the split person who is at fault but the world around them, the family that produces the schizoidness. Plath's journals demonstrate precocity and a eviscerating social gaze. Her critiques into America are both bitingly funny and accurate. Her understanding of the larger framework encapsulating and circumscribing her is highly perceptive. Forced by an unmitigatedly harsh social reality we see plath going inwards. Her neurosis ( indistinguishable with psychosis for laing) is a cultural neurosis, a neurosis felt by many women as evidenced by Anne stevenson and Janet malcolm. Plath's journals, even at their most intimate, most personal, are a social document giving a portrait of 50's America. Riven by antinomies Plath subsumes into insanity as as gesture of defiance. This is not to underscore the neurochemical. She eschews tradition and enters into a solipsistic self communion ( margaret atwood's heroine in surfacing does the same) and finds in her breakdown a breakthrough, another laingian concept. By divesting herself of the appurtenances of sanity and the norm Plath plumbs her psyche and emerges as more self aware, still fragmented, yet elusively reconstituted.

By the laingian scheme the patient is not mad but their madness is a commentary on the culture surrounding them. Can we say that Plath's first breakdown happens at an opportune moment in her life as a woman. She is on the brink of change and has been rejected by Frank o connor's writing program. A spiralling and dismal future beckons combined with her self doubt and inadequacy. Writing against the odds seems unthinkable, writing seems unachievable. When she looks out, hope is deflated. So she looks in and finds a primordial darkness , a vertiginous space and she succumbs.

Back in cambridge a vestige of normalcy resumes. She marries , writes and tries unsuccessfully to publish. Eventually, at 30 she kills herself after Ted leaves her.

Laing took an existential view of depression and Plath's journals prove that. The most powerful passages about wanting to die are underpinned by the laingian false self shutting reality out. Yet reality supervenes even in denial and plath faces an impasse every time she seeks to traverse and bypass its oppressive constituents.

It is interesting to note that most of the case histories Laing recounts are of women. Plath's despair and angst is that of a bright, attractive talented woman who sought more out of life than what life gave her. It was a post war scenario when plath was 18 and a restructuring of the family, women's re resumption of the domestic sphere was promulgated. Domesticity was prized as virtue and patriarchy insidiously reasserted its hold. Within this scenario plath's death is, for me, not a cowardly act of relinquishing life but leaving behind an indelible imprint of the nature of 50's social reality. Her 'ontological uncertainty' as laing calls it, her sense of dispossession, rootlessness in england are all factors. Mother hatred is also something laing's patients demonstrated, the mother as the repressive, freedom curtailing, symbiotically entangled knot which suffocates. The woman being relegated to the home nursed her frustrated ambition by making an infant the extension of her putative apotheosis. Such a reading is not fully contingent but sums up plath's journal entries of mother hate. All these concatenated dichotomies made plath a women inviolably singular yet representative.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nothingness to becoming- Reassessing Freud And Lacan.

To carry the mirror image further the zero or nothingness that constitutes the infant's sense of reality when he emerges from the womb counters his desperate bid to attach his heart to an object, an object he could then internalize and sublimate. I use the word sublimate fully consciously because an identity is arrived at through it. From a sp
eck of nothingness in a bewildering world to becoming a distinct identity, a marked presence is a process of both disavowal and assertion. While certain propensities, like the oedipal, are indubitably relinquished, others like the superego are augmented and exacerbated.

Freud would mark the girl child's passage even more arduous. Yet it is from an undifferentiated collective with singular variables, individual constituents that we emerge. And jung's postulation of a collective unconscious was just a semantic term because for Freud too the unconscious, as demonstrated in Totem and taboo or 'civilization and its discontents' was almost always collective.

A woman's space is particularly circumscribed by culture because the characterology constituting her is culturally predetermined. Self determination is a male prerogative while biology constrains women. The imperceptible or marked iconoclasm is underpinned by her essential inequality to man and no feminist theory has, as of yet, managed to obliterate that dichotomy. The female infant, i will radically suggest does not always suffer from penis envy. To do that presupposes a ubiquitous phallus which, though widespread is always contingent. Rather to me the mother, than the mirror functions as the true mirror that crystallizes identity. The male child perceives his essential and inescapable difference from his mother. Throughout rivalry to the father to an identification with him the mother is a receptacle who affirms the hommo social bond. The mother is the object of exchange whom the son and father pass back and forth. These oscillations are culturally sanctified. And penis envy, if it implies not having the phallus applies equally to men because a phallus as signifier needs something to define itself against. The woman becomes that other.

Women, on the other hand are also affected by the mother. But unlike the male child who sees an other to congeal being through absence the female child sees herself reflected unambivalently. She is unequivocally herself, self possessed and inviolable, in the mother child equation. The father is an other, desired and desirable but an other who will always be other. The male child divests the mother while the female child becomes the mother. The oedipal conflict, if any is actually problematized because a mirror cannot become the image it reflects. The phenomena may be varied too as the ego ideal for the female, unlike the male is an affirmation. It arises out of a luminous cleaving than a sundering. It isn't negation but affirmation.

When the phallus is taken as signifier it permeates interpretation. But the phallus would be incomplete without the womb. It is a symbiotic relationship and the phallus appropriates power as the prime mover. Yet the phallus is just what it is, i.e a signifier. The process of becoming ( childbirth) is the signification. So the desire is, as freud says, more than anything to retreat whence you began. The male child forever desires a return to the womb through intercourse and the female child achieves apotheosis and re experiences the primordial unison when she conceives. It is a timeless, archetypal place of return, indeterminate and unvalidated. But, it is all there is.

Friday, September 21, 2012


As postulated by postmodernists the unconscious is not the singular possession of an individual within the inviolable sanctum of his self but a larger cultural entity whose ramifications predate and go beyond our temporal framework. Many find the prospect of an unconscious that they can't possess inadmissible as the quest for knowledge propels human beings into new directions, spurs them on. To acknowledge that the self is essentially unknowable is a disagreeable prospect. Within a contingent framework self knowledge or a modicum of it is certainly possible but the unconscious as collective, as communal is largely unfathomable.

Freud's ego ideal is quite similar to the infant seeing his mirror image in the lacanian scenario. Both are projections of the self onto an other image that is an extension or a narcissistic prolongation. The ego ideal is the self that the infant idealizes as something to work towards. Many point out that the ego ideal  is a normalizing process, a process through which the object of love, never possessed, is internalized and made indissoluble to the ego. A self beratement is an additional aspect of the internalized love object as its punitive reproaches keep the possibility of inward apostasy in check.

But how can the ego ideal be a narcissistic intra subjectivity when its constituents though coalesced within us are actually collective. And can a process of inoculation into the world be construed as a narcissistic act of extrojection. Clearly if the unconscious forms us as much as we are formed by it then it is constituted by epiphenomenon that transcends the temporal. In that case it is not augmentation but relinquishment, not enhancing but negation of egotism that happens. The ego ideal is not solipsism but its reverse. It is eschewing of the real self, a real unknowable self because that self is beyond us to a socially acceptable self that can navigate the world smoothly at the cost of repressing its own tendencies and propensities.

Interestingly the love object who is repressed and then putatively sublimated is in actuality repressed within the recesses of the self, denied as an object of love, internalized to become the voice of superego. This internalization is a giving up of  one's own intrinsic desires through the absorption of what the loved object, in worldly terms represents. So a process of narcissism is both amalgamated and disavowed. Amalgamated to a larger, socio cultural self absorption and creation of morality that is exclusionary and self perpetuating. And a disavowal because one's own inherent needs, drives are wantonly given up and repressed.

All of us come into the world with a certain image in our psyches of how we traverse it. Right from infancy, as the mothers breast is withdrawn, as feces can't be randomly expelled we learn that we are conditioned by norms and that the norms created  us  as and when we were born. However we peregrinate these norms and retroactively attribute subjectivity and singularity into the seemingly, ubiquitously normative. The desire to conform is inescapable and the need to, for many, unavoidable. Nor can the shackles of an overarching framework be thoughtlessly repudiated as superficial and inadequate. But intermittent interrogations, momentary irradiations of inter subjectivity and the occasional but persistent challenge to the autogenetic can reveal the construct as a construct and create a homology between experience and imagination and insert possibilities of other, polymorphous narratives.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


You stand at the fringes , looking in. You have acquired this assortment of pages whose universe within beckons irresistibly. You saw the rind of skin, the integument and hypothesized the contents within. What you think you expect and what will emerge after immersion is inconceivable, though you have a few pat answers. Like viewing expressionist art you think you are readied to penetrate the intersections, the convolutions, the inchoate distortions that create yet subvert meaning. You are well versed in the modernist  novel and acquainted with post modern ratiocinations. You assume that, having faced the tough, the indecipherable, the hieroglyphs of what you hold will be apprehended.

Yet the tunnel is not a labyrinth or spiraling concavities. You traverse its spaces seamlessly and the smooth journey catches you by surprise. Caught unawares, unprepared you thought you would encounter angst, fragmentation but this iridescent linearity discomfits you. You began on a dotted spot, navigated the continuum and finished at the end. What is more astonishing is that you suspended your cynicism as though entering the tunnel was a stripping away of layers of swaddled gauze and a absorption into a uncomplicated catafalque. The simplicity baffles you.

Yet in an imperceptible yet palpable way you have changed. A metamorphosis has been wrought in you. With the divesting of external appendages your interiority is left open to transformation. Gusts of wind, creeping in through the interstices ripen your flesh, your skin breathes through its pores and is irradiated with a burnished sheen. Your heart has been suffused with feelings you thought were unknowable. As of now this transformation is nebulous, unformulated by cognition. It is its unformed nature that renders it efficacious.

What you have done is to enter the bare bones of a story, whose luminous accoutrements  have been ingested, absorbed. What has happened is that you have emerged unscathed but with a new dimension. You have become, in a sense, whole.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


If, along a continuum of variegated configurations of self definition, an identity is crystallized uncompromisingly as monolithic and prescriptive, spaces for interchange are inescapably circumscribed. However, if along the same continuum, coexistence, rather than reification is the norm then multiple permutations yield multiple concatenation of beings, identities. As of now, such a possibility is amorphous but its nebulousness doesn't make it unreachable but something to work towards.

A simple relationality binds us. In any colloquy with any interlocutor, reciprocity is essential. Yet politics underscore and render ambiguous the possibility of seamless interchange because modalities of power make contingent realms of communication and what is habitable to one may be uninhabitable to the other. A dialogue needn't be dialogic and seldom is. The social space, gender, economic status, sexual orientation make inadmissible the possibility of true exchange. Within such a scenario auto genesis is intractably lodged in both speakers. Where a putative interlocking is expected, an egoistic self amplification becomes de rigueur.

Yet the self expressed narcissism is apocryphal because it presupposes a self, an incandescent sense of identity which overrides subjective atomizations. As a well encapsulated, self contained functional unit the individual has or confers on himself a chimerical carapace of wholeness. But in the subfusc hinterland of the unconscious, our beginnings are indeterminate and indeterminable. As self deluding denizens of unknowingness we seek a modicum of self knowledge but are invariably left clutching at empty air.

However unfathomable true knowledge may be a partial understanding is intrinsic to humans. In an unfathomable realm of non knowing we stipple our unexperienced selves with daubs of knowingness. Striations of awareness dapple the crepuscular gloaming. And with this limited knowledge we create spaces, if not of knowing at least endeavoring to understand and empathize with the other.

Mass culture inundates us with glorifying mythifications of self realization, wholeness. But the very incompleteness precludes and becomes a necessary precondition of relationality. Because we are , in a sense the lacanian real, unsymbolizable, not due to not self symbolizing but unable to locate teleological definitions. Because of radical self indecipherability, the other becomes equally unknowable. And when an inveterate faculty of dissection and presupposed judgements is suspended, a metonymic slippage comes to be wherein across the fissures of our selves an aperture, a thread extends to the other. The other, of necessity, becomes penumbral and across that penumbra where the uncertain normativity which constitutes us is bereft of its hegemonic totalizations and when a similar naturalization of it to the other is exposed, a new homonymy is reconstituted.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Vg Lee's novels demonstrate a putative, seamless lightness of touch. Like a glass of champagne her work is so readable that it is guzzled in one go. But like good champagne it both stands the test of time and its taste lingers on after consumption. Vg Lee possesses a unique quality wherein both the light and the dark are simultaneously coexistent. It is very tough, for most novelists, to maintain a comic touch yet reflect the profundities of life through that vein and Vg lee has both qualities in abundance.

As a stand up comedienne Vg Lee is possessed of a natural, lively sense of humor her work demonstrates. Humor, not of the slapstick kind but woven and blended within narrative structure. It arises not from some random, unknown area but from within the quotidian, everyday things in human lives. Lorna Tree and Joanie Littler may, on the face of it, seem totally different. Yet both have a rich inner life, an inner fantasy world which compensates and provides restitution from the exiguities of a circumscribing outer reality. Joanie is a brilliant creation because her fantasy life is imbued with a self realization which her real life becomes a working towards. Can a life of fantasy be that phantasmal if it provides solace? In fact Joanie recalls The character of Joan in Margaret Atwood's Lady oracle  and both novels are comic romps. As Joanie And Lorna demonstrate an overcompensating life is also fraught with danger. As the past unravels, as aspects of experience unfurl coterminously with the fantasy constituents a sense of danger, an undercurrent of inner violence becomes palpably disquieting. Within the seeds of apotheosis lie the dangers of self destruction.

Vg Lee is classed as a lesbian novelist and one review compares her to Jeanette winterson. And while the identity of lesbian author has become a political necessity, a gesture of proclaiming one's sexuality this encapsulation, particularly in the case of Vg is rather generalizing and limiting. Her work is universal and her inward landscapes evince a profound understanding of the illusions, self deceptions, exonerations and expiations that human beings are constituted by.

Her adroit light brushstrokes are often acknowledged as is the dark psychic underbelly she constructs through her characters. But Vg Lee's depth is most often ignored. Joanie is a metonym of the illusions that all of us harbor at a subterranean level. The forms her fantasies take are merely an actualization of self same nascent propensities in all of us. Lorna's tragic childhood is a mirror of mortifying experiences we all have. Her penumbral life is irradiated by the amorphous woman in beige.Haven't Brad pitt's, Richard Gere's, though not equally phantasmatic illustrated our need for an alternate world.

The ability to strike two discordant chords, that of comedy and depth, light and dark is special to Vg Lee. She is cognizant of our darkness but her ability to give us narrative light through this darkness is a special gift. The iridescent surfaces, the crepuscular exteriority combine with an incandescence whose luminous sheen affirms. It is not unsullied innocence but experiential arriving at a consciousness of affirmation. For this gift, she should be thanked.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Dr.John is a 34 year old analyst who is very fit, agile and good looking. A tendency to mouth platitudes is an inveterate part of his repertoire. When he smiles, his lower molar, on the right, is awry. But this incongruity enhances his handsomeness, lending to it an air of ambiguity. My first session with him is a blur but i do recall hanging on to his every word like a drowning person clinging tenaciously to a spar of wood. I am, it seems, trying to wrest from his cornucopia of aphorisms a remnant of a personal mnemonic to hold on to. And over the course of the next few sessions my self pity and helpless are the predominant feature of our colloquy. As an interlocutor he has moments of zoning out, disconnecting and then re establishing the thread of conversation. It is an anomaly, this drifting off but it is too imperceptible to my consciousness to register as being disquieting.

The therapeutic balance is clearly conventional except for his habit of doling out inspirational tidbits from his life to demonstrate the achieving of goals despite obstacles. These snippets of his life are  narrated in an offhand, matter of fact voice which don't detonate but lend an unnaturalness because the stem not from humility but from an ineffectually concealed egotism. After a few months i leave his therapy.

After seeing a woman therapist for the next 4 months and getting better i am assailed by a yearning to go back to Dr. John. Therapeutically the reasons are unformed and unconvincing because the possibility of any change in status quo is unthinkable. Yet the irreconcilability of effectiveness is inversely proportional to a nascent, burgeoning need. And the need is clearly transference of the most banal of forms i.e physical.

Clearly i am attracted, always was but suppressed and the need to reconnect belies any rationalizations that may be promulgated. . And i do go back but the dynamics have changed. No longer am i the hapless, vulnerable patient regaling him with the interminable tale of my woes but a self aware , intelligent, psychologically erudite person engaging in a dialogue, in counter discourse. His freudian inferences are counteracted by my equal knowledge of Jung, Adler, Melanie Klein. Whether i possess it or not i demonstrate a psychoanalytic percipience that charms, beguiles and impresses him. I am now an equal and he is really bewitched by my intelligence. He palpably gives me preference and enjoys my company. The therapy sessions are an intellectual thrashing out of ideas and my principle desire is to stamp my presence. Yet this fusillade of knowledge is prompted by need, desire than to  show off. The need is inadmissible and he seems unaware of it, indeed even acknowledging its possibility is anathema to him. The need grows stronger, he permeates my dreams, my nocturnal fantasies. And the effort of dissimulation, becomes trying and exhausting. I plunge into another episode of depression and fearful of exposure yet unable to conceal i unceremoniously quit the therapy again.

The transference was clearly both ways. He sought and found in me someone to relieve the unceasing tedium of human suffering that inundated him everyday. I am the welcoming reprieve, the receptacle of compassion, intelligence that he yearns for. Yet the personas we pot on, the dissembling we engage in is constituted by a fundamental falsity. It is inauthentic and a willed refutation, complicitous of our real selves. For the transference to work, mutual self deception was an inescapable corollary. It could have taken other forms, morphed unidentifiably into something unforeseen. The decision to leave was the bulwark of sanity. I'm glad i left.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


A sideways profile, a passive or rather impassive placidity, a self contained completeness of a woman consecrated across temporal and cultural zones, an emblem of the feminine mystique, a site of innumerable kinds of gaze, multifariously pedagogized, assiduously analysed, indefatigably dissected Mona  Lisa has proliferated ubiquitously and straddles lateral contiguities. Yet what are the significations embedded? Is a male spectator's understanding different from, let's say a postmodern feminist? Are spaces of peroration subversively reconstituted? Is the metonymic potentiality, appropriation from a feminist perspective a destabilization of patriarchal eulogization, a eulogization that deifies and circumscribes simultaneously? From a queer angle, as gender dichotomies, the very etymology of gender is problematized what are the attendant interpretations? What cultural configurations, contextual interpellations underlie discursive paradigms? 

A lacanian specular analysis highlights interesting sites of convergence/divergence. In the midst of renaissance self fashioning, male hommo sociality, burgeoning consciousness of self determination what place would a representation of Mona lisa signify. Queen Elizabeth is reigning, religious dogma, unquestioned throughout dark ages is being interrogated, new lands are being discovered, science, physics are emerging. What meconnaissance , from a lacanian sense is being addressed.

An infant seeing the mirror image identifies it as the ideal ego and contrasts his/her disaggregated physicality/psychic landscape with the wholesome mirror image. Later through the symbolic realm, the discursive ideologies the image proffers are internalized and through a process of melancholia, repressed and sublimated. If Mona lisa is the mirror image then she operates as the prediscursively constituted symbolic, distilled through the male gaze, through which notions of femininity are hegemonized. Mona lisa is a construct i.e the ideas underscoring it and for a female infant, through the lacanian prism a certain idea of womanliness is being presented which within cultural contingency offers her a space to exist, within a patriarchal discourse. For the male infant the ideal of womanliness reinscribes cultural stereotypes and gives a palpable form to his evanescent conception of the world. The fact that monolithic male discourse, through putative reinterpretation has reconfirmed originary asseverations, with minimal variations is a case in point. And a feminist counterpoint only reifies and rechannels patriarchal teleology. A radical feminist episteme is an insufficient corollary to predominant patriarchy.

Yet the politics of spectatorship changes with time and a monochromatic interpellation is a generalization. Nor would the spectator be a mute recipient of an overarching ideology which constitutes him. Contingent possibilities may not impugn but deflect dominant homogenity. Mona lisa seems more than what she is. Her consecration contains seeds of dissolution. A de eroticized, de particularized abstraction of femininity demonstrates a humanist predisposition. But eroticism is a suspect term and within her de glamorised glamorisation lie the cultural fantasies of millions. Mona lisa titillates but it is a sublimated titillation. Her archetypal stature renders her both irreproachably secular and incandescently anthropomorphized. She is unattainable yet a validation of what a woman is, a timeless anachronism, a universal naturalization , part of a collective consciousness. 

However the latent subversion is highlighted through her timelessness. Because, though chronologically contained she transcends mortality. And her timelessness both deifies and secularizes. Mona lisa is the phallus because she reflects male autogenesis but she wields the phallus too because her indeterminacy discombobulates patriarchy. Her eternalized reification is non thematizable within a humanist discourse because though conceived as a humanist abstraction she essentially renders it defunct. Different intersecting modalities interpret her differently. She embodies a drag quality, a performative proclivity because though crystallized she is a dissimulation, a simulated iconography. Her timeless appeal isn't singularly unambivalent but variegatedly contingent. For a gay man she embodies a contradiction, a new homonomy because his melancholic repression would place her at a certain distance, as a specular other and her ability to have the phallus imperil his masculinity. But he also is the phallus and thus inhabits a continuum of polymorphous variations. To merely interpret Mona lisa through a reconfigured feminist ideology would be incomplete because forms of otherness, racial, cultural, social are question marks to a legitimating power discourse. To isolate a strand is to reify, to reduplicate power hegemony. And the queering is an ambiguity, a anomalous lacuna and isn't used here to denote Lgbt ideas only.

Today the internet is permeated by numerous mona lisas, accoutered with cultural specifities, with short hair, with a moustache and these permutations attest her inescpable appropriability and demonstrate the essential fact of art's performativity. Her panegyric celebration is untainted, the inconsolable dirge like melancholia of her countenance indisputable but her reconfiguration renders her a subjective ideogram, stippled with kaleidoscopic inversions, a repatched lacanian mirror where the architectonics of perception, the gaze are not merely mirroring the image the mirror upholds but resignifying its constituents through a prismatic self awareness.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


It is indeed ironical that when it functioned as a repressed prohibition, unacknowledged and inadmissible, homosexuality was simultaneously consecrated and desecrated. Downright denunciation and candid celebration are never polar opposites. They are mirror images which inversely reduplicate. And an incontrovertible symbiosis binds the two so that the self identity of a given contingent phenomenon cannot exist without being in relation to the other. And even if it is a singular being that bifurcates it problematizes notions of singularity. And it is this homology between variegated sexual permutations, along a lateral continuum that makes of homosexuality and heterosexuality an interface where while one tries to assert its ascendancy the other interrogates its universalizing claims.

While the proliferation of homosexuality in popular culture is indeed worthwhile its monolithic representation, barring exceptions is still problematic. Stereotypes are indissolubly engraven in collective consciousness and to imagine a perspective untainted by its ideological constituents is a form of lacanian 'meconnaissance'. Yet as foucault would posit the representation is not uncritically, unquestioningly absorbed but subjected to a dialectical exegesis. It is an irrefutable reality that the currents of acceptance/denial are located not in cognitive exercise of free will only but in a presupposed, predetermined constitutive ideological backdrop.So notions of homosexuality aren't really individual acts of self understanding but culturally constituted ideologies. Yet with changing mores and kinetic progression, stale, threadbare ideas become redundant and new ones replace them.Yet at a macrocosmic level, the underlying dominant ideology works subterraneously, taking newer forms, finding new ways of arresting burgeoning consciousnesses.

Within popular culture a derisive ,plebian contempt for art cinema is palpable. If art deplores the mind numbing mediocrity and monotony of popular culture, popular culture revels in its quotidian banality. A simon cowell and David williams playacting as gays invokes laughter, John And Abhishek and their inveterate grotesqueries as gays incites mirth. Brokeback Mountain affirms the validity yet underscores the frangibility of gay sexuality by emphasizing its otherness. 'Fire' conceives of a radical break from dogma and oppressive convention to validate self realization through the metonymic appropriation of lesbianism. The examples are numerous and a breach between commercial, marketable cinema and sensitive portraiture remains unassimilable.

While a farcical representation of gays is indisputable a certain representation still exists whose validity must be acknowledged. Years of submergence, erasure, oblivion have now been rent as homosexuality asa discursive phenomenon is becoming culturally, politically visible. And a coke drinking, popcorn munching movie goer is looking for his copeck worth of entertainment. By radically suspending disbelief, a disbelief which is actually a belief, the alternate world of cinema beckons not with intimations of a parallel world but a reconstitution of aphoristic universal ideologized notions whose cinematic affirmation ratifies the ubiquity of subjective, constructed ideas. Popular culture both reflects and produces the reality it represents and its forms of expression are both a blueprint of heterosexual (largely) unconscious and productive market exigencies. If a gay man is to be ridiculed and impugned, albeit humorously to set the cash registers tingling then perhaps the oleaginous, saccharine, platitudinous sugercoating is essential. And perhaps to be unheard of, unseen, unacknowledged is a worse fate than being at least given a space to exist, however parodic its manifestations are.

Girlishness , femininity, womanly accoutrements are an inveterate repertoire of the cinematic gay. It is, as though his exaggerated femininity defuses the  incendiarism of his sexuality,  as if the fact of his femininity explains why he likes men and a macho man would not countenance the injury to his sexuality this would make manifest. The sugar dandies 'the gay dancing couple in Britain's got talent are accepted but on cultural terms are figures of burlesque, as being ridiculously funny. Contrast this with the hyper masculine porn actors, their bulging cocks, hairy chests, muscular torsos and frenetic fucking. Both mythifications coexist yet their inhabited domains are different. Cinema is a private indulgence with public sanction and pornography is a private fetishistic mnemonic of timeless sexuality.

So a simpering, hip swaying abhishek Bachchan is a firm counterpart to a sensitive Purab Kohli, Urban rahul bose is counterposed to a caricatured shahrukh. As more artists seek to divest condemnatory appendanges affixed to gays, popular culture reciprocates with unrelenting stereotyping. But media, press, legality give homosexuality a space for expression and the continuing debates reflect a healthy dialogic possibility though imbued with power apparatuses.Homosexual discourses mime and subvert heterosexist paradigms and these embellished representations have to be seen as disruptive too but the comfort level of the interlocutor with the form is invariably reconfirmed. Popular culture and public morality work in tandem and both are mirror images. Mythologizing works hierarchically and with the diminution (not obliteration ) of one another surfaces. Yet representation is a visible contemporary phenomenon and within its conformist norms ideograms of iconoclasm are embedded.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Sylvia plath, scion of feminism, the tortured woman, the mentally ill poet has permeated ubiquitously as a cultural emblem with variegated meanings. Everyone loves Plath yet is the Plath of 'Daddy', 'Lady lazarus', the embittered, angry, confessional Plath, the powerful poet who possesses an ineluctable attraction, an unavoidable appeal. The Plath who committed suicide, as though satiating the necrophiliac fantasies of our collective need for suffering, a death that expiates and ennobles. The wronged woman's death is her apotheosis, a befitting ending to a tumultuous life. And let's face it if Plath hadn't taken her life she wouldn't be the Plath she is today.

Yet the more one, with insatiable omnivorousness, absorbs the quotidian aspects of this life the more the mythopoeic stature both diminishes and enhances. The journals demonstrate snippets, moments of being that are startlingly revelatory that unfurl inversely the underwriting of the palimpsest, the unscrolling of the concealed. And the Plath who emerges out of the compendium of work she left behind demonstrates, not the mythic abstraction that transfigures her but a very human, everyday person with basic emotional and physical needs.

Plath comes across as unbelievably precocious. Possessed of a razor sharp sensitivity, the ability to stand outside and look within, the self critical self aware young woman who traverses the quadrangles of 50's America, captured tellingly in Freidan's 'The feminine Mystique', a young woman who wants a deep soulful bond, not a superficial , material unsion. A confident plath exposes male hypocrisy of sexual differentiation yet who, despite her theoretical belief in rightness finds herself being rendered tremulous at the prospect of nonconformity.

Whether it is her intense feeling for Ilo or her self possessed regard for Bob or her idealistic/idealised togetherness with Hughes or the numerous men she dates one senses a rite of passage as though layers of swaddled skin are being shed, the superfluous integument peels off and the true expectation emerges. She longs for marriage yet sees it as a abdication of her writer status. She wants both. Yet with Hughes her language of her relationship is either hyperbolically panegyric or pettily irascible. Noble sentiment mingles with jealousy and misperception and Plath oscillates between the two, capable of being a fit consort yet unsure of being the companion she wants him to be.

Plath demonstrates both tremendous self belief and excoriating self doubt about herself as a writer. She , in moments of sanguine self containment, believes herself gifted and yet the slightest of gossamer mental changes, a shift she unremittingly evinces she plunges into despair. The commercial exiguity of her efforts validates her precarious doubts yet small successes,like mademoiselle or the New york trip reaffirm her tenuous faith. She is capable of unquestioning appreciation as she does for Woolf And Bishop and also of the most condescending scorn as with Adrienne Rich. With Ted she veers between admiration and jealousy. Yet it is this uncertainty that is propulsive, which drives her on. Plath experiments with old forms and reconstitutes them as in 'Dirge for a joker, 'sonnet to satan', To eva descending a stair, Female author, Trio of Love songs. The young plath is fearless and leaps over pyrotechnic verbal leaps in poems like 'Love is a parallax', 'Metamorphoses of the moon', 'Go get the goodly squab'. Plath attenuates later, she diffuses her verbal ingenuity, tones down her dazzling linguistic circumlocutions because desire for acknowledgement is an inevitable accompaniment to artistic integrity. Plath hungers for popular acceptance and her subterrenean desire is for a 'Ladie's home journal' sort of approachability. Yet there are the intransigent high standards that refuse to compromise. 

Her descent into madness is unexpressed in her journals and yet disqueting snippets reveal her frangible sanity. She writes compellingly about instances of intense self tortuously poignant deracination of self, a valedictory sense of irrevocability. She tries to understand existentially the roots of her despair and her importunate entreaty to willpower to buttress her counterpoints her deepening self despair. Undoubtedly chemical factors, unexplored fully in the 50's are a significant factor yet Plath seems to be running a rat race with herself as her competitor. Towards her 20th year she seems tired of the effort and that exhaustion transmutes into a indifference and moral apathy towards life. Undoubtedly her weak sense of self contributes to her descent. Yet there is the unceasing romanticization of her illness, the buoyant optimism of manic ecstasies and the histrionic constituents of depression. Her breakdown, Ect, it seems have left the persona underneath unchanged. A  superficial identity asserts itself by repudiating the intensity of the darkness, negating the essential components while glorifying their intense emotionalism. She comes across as highly suggestive. Her Mythification of Daddy is precisely that, a mythologizing of a melodramatic nature which sees everything larger than life. Her hatred for her mother seems similarly bloated out of proportion. And the gushy saccharine letters plath writes to her mother aren't dissembling artifices but bursts of expressive happiness as well. As a self conscious woman plath understands her illness in humanist terms and her self beratment for her inadequacy in matching up to those humanist ideals is incommensurate with her self indulgence. This is a plath who worries about her teeth, who shows she hates herself enough to harm herself repeatedly but who loves herself equally to embalm unprepossessing tableax of her life into crystallized works of art. From experience to its transcribing a merciless eye for detail, a powerful imagination, well endowed linguistic skills are highlighted, an integrity to writing yet its commercial desecration as an attendant , longed for desire. The glorification of bipolarity in plath corresponds to Anne sexton's romanticizing too.

Why she killed herself is unfathomable though unceasingly conjectured. The factors could be multitudinous but it is neither the Incendiary lady lazarus or the insane Esther who sums up Plath. The plath who loves avocadoes, believes idealistically in love, is a biting commentator of American civilizationare also fragments of her. Her mythological congealing ensures her persistence but it is these mnemonics, indissoluble parts of her being that make her the woman/poet she is.

           'If you pluck out my heart
              To find what makes it move
             You'll halt the clock
               That syncopates our lover'
                                               -from'Trio of love songs'.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


To express the incommunicable is a gift, a gift which Ms Joanne Limburg possesses abundantly. The fact that the narrative is an account of inchoate personal experience renders her memoir 'The woman who thought too much' doubly genuine. We read many memoirs about mental health,. 'The bell jar', ' Girl interrupted', 'An unquiet mind', 'Darkness visible' come to mind yet before Ms Limburg's  compelling account a good memoir, indeed a good narrative of ocd was hard to find. This is partially attributable to the hierarchization and gradations of mental illness. With bipolar and depression and schizophrenia in one trajectory and panic attacks, ocpd, ptsd on the other, ocd lies in the interstices neither given requisite popular attention nor fully and contemptuously disregarded. Yet given its ambivalent position within psychiatric circles ocd is considered in the real world with contempt, unmitigated disdain, and unflattering sanctimony.

Joanne Limburg sculpts her prose into such droll, beautiful, artistic poetic whorls that the lyricism inherent in her work is seamless and natural. Her wit and dark humor recalls Margaret Atwood. Ms Limburg laces her narrative not as one that is studded with events and vignettes to underscore her thematic concern but fuses the narrative of a chronological life with stream of consciousness interjections of disquiet, stippling a seemingly harmless encounter or stable emotional surface with unnerving ripples and forebodings.

And while the medicalized nature of her ailment is addressed the existential tone of apprehensions, fears, obsessions is never absent. When she describes her premonitory fears taking on grotesque proportions and imperiling the performing of the smallest quotidian task she demonstrates the frangible human mind, its egotisms, deceptions, neurochemical concerns and humanist prepossessions. In limpid prose Ms Limburg's narrative comes across not as an overcompensatory rationalization or expiation seeking. It is a self contained, inviolable narrative that makes a point through the delineation of her life which as it unravels makes larger cultural observations on societal stigma and incomprehension.

But the biggest battle for Ms Limburg is the sifting through the maze of obsessive thinking, the self defeating thoughts, reduplicating , the deterrent such thoughts become, the hurdles they are when even a small task is to be done. The psychological self stigma, the internalization of worthlessness and the attrition of years of convoluted spirals of thought are counterpointed by her unfaltering honesty in seeing her ailment for what it is, to grasp the social layers that encompass it and to navigate through her travails . And this memoir, is a palpable actualization of a strong will, noble conscience, unwinking intelligence and luminous soul.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012



I glanced into its silvered deep
And saw there, reflected, you
I recognize your visage in sleep
As we our journey traverse through.

You amplify my sense of me
And validate a sense of being
You, within the gaps, let me be
And let the impassive world unseeing.

I could say i see you as an extension
For you unravel from my core
And all the treacheries and dissension
Leave, in me, indelible scars sore

But i hold on to the blueprint i discern
And from it emanates my prerogative concern.

The reflection bespeaks an illusion
And undulates the aureole of deception
As the mirror tells a lie

Scintillate bodies syncopate
To the arpeggios of simulacra
The reflection bespeaks an illusion.

The conception of the other descends
Through a delusional aegis
As the mirror tells a lie

Contradictory revelations jostle
The gloaming imbued dusk conceals
The reflection bespeaks an illusion.

The flesh ricochets, lubriciously
Yet the souls, remain unjointed 
As the mirror tells a lie

Desire's facsimile is insufficient recompense
For the continuance of togetherness.
The reflection bespeaks an illusion
As the mirror tells a lie.


However, i can safely say that you
Reduplicate me because you emerge from
Me. You are the eve of my self,the jutting rib
Transformed into a human form. Yet when i
Glance at the pool/mirror, my gelatinous
Integument refracts, sparks of orgasms
As my tear besmirched countenance
Becomes , before the mirror, a defacement
I make into a face. I do worry over
You as my own sufficiency is enclosed with yours.
But the mirror reassures me , principally of
The endlessness of human desire
And the inveterate self deception.


The sight of spunk splattered all over the face, the frenetic blowjobs, the brutalized anal sex and the rictus of grimacing pleasure on the faces of porn stars induces sordid titillation but by virtue of its impersonal reduction into its constituents de eroticizes, kitschifies and discombobulates. These heraldic emblems of pornographic positionalities are both conformist and subversive and acknowledgement of this dual aspect is a necessary accompaniment to the process of deconstruction.

Pornography, including gay pornography is said to de particularize and de universalize larger, exigent realities and circumscribe the graffiti of sex into a purely functional mode. And it is this distance that is said to divest it of social appurtenances and focus unambivalently on the sex act. Yet why does the tableaux of twinks, blacks, daddy bears, schoolboys, bears exert such an irresistible attraction. What corporeal orgasmic plenitude do they proffer that our own flanks tintinnabulate with a responding throbbing, our engorgement fill with the excitement of rushing blood. Clearly the reason lies culturally.

Postmodernism divorces the individual from collectivity. Yet the collective consciousness of gay men vibrates with fantasies which pornography seeks to actualize. A huge penis, a hairy physiognomy, slim nubile yong men, black men, asian representations all are invariable components of the fantasy sexual dreams of gays along a lateral continuum. Moreover the nature of the fantasy, its accoutrements may differ but a singular component of their compendious concatenation is irretrievably interlinked to our cultural psyches. When the sex act is visualized it is disconnected from emotional significations. It is purely mechanical and untainted by feeling. The nature of pornography is gratuitous recompense, a recompense rendered ironic by virtue of its unconsummated nature. Masturbation is the inevitable restitution for the images that inundate the spectator's psyche. It is depersonalization redoubled, both of the object of desire and the cognitive subject.

The prick alert and poised to penetrate uses variegated sex positions. Semen becomes a sacramental offering, to be ingested as a holy symbol, the anus becomes the fringed hole where the brutal cock weaves in  and out. Sex, with its intimations of transcendence is stripped of sanguine romanticism and made purely quotidian. A certain brutality, a rationalized violence is an attendant phenomenon. The more violent the penetration, the more assiduous the blowjob the more intense is the pleasure.

Stereotypes of communities are validated through pornography. And it is here that the irrefutable irony of porn is underscored. Indefatigable fucking for its own sake reaffirms cultural myths. The black man is imbued with a huge , bulging knob, the dildo is indisputably gargantuan., the hairy bear is incontrovertibly, exaggeratedly masculine. The twink is often uncircumcised and has a smooth, gelatinous skin, anal excitation has its essential vulgarity enhanced as it becomes an uncharacteristically subversive act. The schoolboy has sex with the teacher, dads fuck son, blacks fuck blacks and whites. Incest, the incontestable taboo becomes in the world of porn a material reality. Because pornography operates in the mode of fantasy and the pleasures it incites are private a hushed concealment , the spectator's complicity is assumed. Private sexual obsessions, common to all are indulged in all their perversity. Every rococo, baroque combination finds visual expression. All apparatuses are personalized.

In its simultaneous affirmation and disavowal of its cultural moorings gay pornography is ineluctably subversive. Yet its transgressive possibilities are defused and attenuated because they lie embedded in the aroused psyche of the viewer. Eventually a momentary excitation yields a momentous pleasure yet eventually it resides in the mind, unactualized, unrealized. It initiates an entrance into the sexual domain and is educative about the sex act but its violent nature underpins its educative aspect. Porn is an inevitable component our lives and a judicious, measured partaking tempered by cognitive awareness is the only way to circumvent its harmful effects and initiate a self determination, constituted but transcended of sexuality.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


At first sight, two putatively incongruous terms, seen in conjunction, demonstrate a certain pliability in their application. Yet postmodernism works self contradictorily. In validating relationality is gives the individual supremacy and self determination. Yet, this same relationality renders intransigent definitions suspect. Therefore, the two aforementioned terms needn't necessarily be antinomies but extensions and mirror images of each other.

When everything is subjective and truthfulness resides by negotiating pre existent notions of morality and ethics then to affirm a communality becomes an act of subversion, a form of decontextualization. As contingent individualities proliferate it seems that collective shared discourses recede. My argument is that precisely this contextualizing affirms humanism.

If everything is relative then an individual being is relational. There can be no relationality by itself. An interlocutor is a necessary adjunct. Nor can unvarnished subjectivity reside in a void. For its uniqueness to be acknowledged an 'other', a 'you' is necessitated. This is a ratification of human collectivity because human plurality manifests itself through the unalterable, unequivocal reality and presence of a signifier and signified and process of signification is the fulcrum where they congregate.

Moreover, a conglomeration of subjectivities has certain common denominators. To use another postmodern argument i would posit that if there is no singular 'i', if identity is a chimera and if our responses, reactions, realities , in short the compendium of events constituting our lives is already predicated on a prediscursive reality then it would follow that humanism, the point of intersection, assumed ontologically is an invariable component of our lives. Because, to take the cue from postmodernism it precedes us, we can only retroactively recapture an evanescent life but its constituents have already been established. Therefore within the interstices of our contexts, already pre existent, shared, common aspects are ineluctable. The actualization and manifestations of these may depend on the way one conducts oneself but even that is part of a larger humanism. It then follows that the more vociferously we hold on to our sense of self as self realizing the more we blend indissolubly with a larger human cycle. Under an undifferentiated canopy our infinitesimal lives unravel, our morphologies take forms, our realities unravel. Yet incontestably we remain ourselves by being outside of ourselves, beyond ourselves.

Relationality binds me to you. You validate me and materialize my tenuousness. You metamorphoses to we. What we, in a reductio ad absurdum denounce as stereotype is merely a reinforcing of prediscursivity. Therefore postmodernism doesn't repudiate but superimposes, through its own convoluted rationalizations the indisputable fact of our togetherness.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Language, which we construct is relational in nature, never absolute. One thing is essentially something not simply because of its incontrovertible singularity but its not being something else. From this emanates our antinomian, manichean sense of binarisation, implying as an equivalently oppositional corollary an inversion or  negation while in actuality the putative difference underscores an essential coexistent commonality.

Psychoanalysis is a very private domain while culture is public. Yet they evince the same dichotomous dualities that constitute the realm of discourse. Of course, they do impinge, interpenetrate in many ways but a foreclosure is implied in the demonstration of a difference, predicated cognitively through linguistic signifiers.

As poststructuralists say there is no such thing as an unconscious.The most interior dimension of our being, assumed inviolable, sanctified as an emblematic subjectivation is a cultural product. We enter a world whose constituents pre exist. We speak a language already there and we cannot know where the origins of our emergence lies. It is an ad infinitum because the more we seek to trace it to its beginning the further away its originating claims recede. If my unconscious is as it were, irrevocably imbricated in a putative teleology then perhaps my claims on an unequivocal me are rather ambivalent. A corporeal materialization makes of me an undifferentiated singularity yet this corporeality underpins my individuation through a grid of intersubjective interpellations that render unambiguous self sufficiency suspect. When i gather together different aspects, solder them and present an individual selfhood i use the language of binary yet reconstitute myself by questioning its hegemonic atomizations.

An analyst is really our unconscious and yet not it. He/she is a repository of human wisdom which has been there for a long time. Analysis, for all its emphasis on subjectivity and contextuality is very humanist in its orientation. It presupposes a modality of morality and inveigles the analysand into a complicitous, internalized  collusion with it. And this is perhaps natural because the world of 'reality' is what we must traverse to exist in a worldly sense and construct a meaningful life.

Psychoanalysts, in a contemporary context are attuned to cultural changes. So many would, on the uncovering of a homosexual proclivity, encourage its being there, ratify the subjects precarious self assertion and prepare them to deal with it. Culture and analysis are embedded in each other. Psychoanalysis is usually seen as a interrogation of cultural assumptions which is but a carapace, a patina of nonconformity. Psychoanalysis is coterminous with culture, it mirrors its platitudes, validates its axioms and reweaves a dissosciated  divergence from a normative trajectory into a realignment. Homosexuality, for enlightened analysts is usually permissible. Yet the possibility of the analysands transference of desire on to the analyst, though theoretically asseverated is inadmissible. Psychoanalysts are credited with perspicuity and astuteness but most often they are unable to refract the channels of desire emanating from the patient and see it as funneling onto them. The analyst deflects and ricochets the possibility of such a desire. Yet is the analyst who brought the desire into being. One relates to one's analyst on a very primordial level. Narrative reconstruction implies a form of regression and to back to one's origins is to unravel forms of sexual desires, fantasies which came into being as the infant came to be. Such desires, chemically rationalized  are also choices, existential cognitive choices not merely behavioral propensities.

A kaleidoscope of possibility unfurls when culture and psychoanalysis amalgamate symbiotically. Because the analyst is not an all knowing deity or retributive parent figure, though seen that way but products of culture. Patterns of aberrant behavior, symptoms of desire are prearranged into structures of discourses from which strands of analysis flow outwards. Retroactive reconstruction reaffirms an assumed ontology, which is coterminous with culture. Freud and Adler saw homosexuality as a perversion and this was due to their unconscious adherence to the morality of their times . Coming out is never just personal, as it may in the case of extricating the fact of homosexuality from the mosaic of one's life. The moment it is articulate, uttered, even sitting on the couch it becomes a cultural phenomenon. Analysts are voices of reason , they are our conscience and while a chimera of individuation asserts itself as a life, after momentary stasis and reintegrated the terms of that reassembling, the forms it takes are invariably cultural. Yet the reconstruction isn't a passive replication of cultural norms but as foucault says a form of self grafting. We navigate the world on our circumstantial exigencies yet we are indissolubly formed by it as well. Both self realization and indoctrination coexist. A paradox to be dealt with and accepted.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Under the illusion that we are self determining individuals, capable of self awareness Cbt offers an ennobling bulwark. Cognitive and behavioral in conjunction provide an illusory chimera of  intelligibility and self consciousness. Therapy amplifies the singular transference the process involves since counter transference, putatively contrapuntal reaffirms the presuppositions originally held.

It is my contention that any patient who accesses Cbt  is not going to be told something new. More often than not the anodyne platitudes proffered are those the patient himself knows. The process of being inveigled into partaking this process of normalization is a powerful counterpoint to a structure of unreason, seen as discontinuous, that constitutes a descent into a mental disorder.

And psychiatry, colluding with psychotherapy creates this patina of a physiological basis whose constituents are indubitable but whose psychological repurcussions are bothersome. To be told that you have a chemical imbalance, that the self destructive behavioral patterns you evince are beyond volition is a striking contrast to conventional ideas of madness. Both, i would argue are engendering notions of viictimhood and refuting the etymology of Cbt.

To say that something is cognitive is to assert a measure of control over what we do. And the choices we make under the effects of a mental illness are stated as being volitionless on our part, dictated by our neurotransmitters whose dysfunction perpetuates irrational and auto destructive behavior forms. My argument is this proliferation of theories of neurochemical imbalances as a form of exoneration and excoriation similarly. As a patient's life unfurls, past conducts are reviewed and rendered inadmissible , at least cognitively, in the future. Perhaps purely unconsciously the patina of randomness underlies the mistaken choices, reinforcing their irrationality, questioning while simultaneously rationalizing their provenance. If it is that acts of wrongdoing, albeit inadvertent have constituted the past then the self same action, whose repudiation is stressed becomes, by implication erroneous. A humanist language of morality underscores the accidental nature of one's actions.

This same humanist discourse, manifesting itself in the form of pat aphorisms and comforting platitudes makes the return to precarious healthfulness a naturalized phenomenon . Naturalized because the patient is given the illusion that his return would necessitate navigating the world on his own terms. Yet as poststructuralists like foucault have pointed the notion of an indivisible 'I ' is an impossibility because we are inaugurated into a world whose claims on us have already been defined. In this sense can the relationship between patient and therapist be a dialogue. It is a dialogue within, with one's superego, whose actualized corporeal manifestation is embodied in the analyst. Even when non conformity is affirmed the therapist represents an unactualized desire for acceptance which would societally, be either embraced or negated. Celebrating one's difference, following one's dreams are certainly articulated and do give the patient control over his conscious choices. But the unconscious, forever untraversed, remains , at best, something non navigable, inarticulable wherein pre existing states of the world we come to inhabit seem to offer the possibility of control but being overdetermined by it  we only ratify its assumed ontology.

Which is not to say that a life under psychotherapy doesn't get better. It certainly does but it is betterment based on a leap of faith, a willful repression of the uncontainable and unassimilable, a repression which, based on an irrecoverable desire for wholeness , continues, intermittently to haunt. We mold and reconstruct an amorphous self with which we peregrinate successfully the world we live in. The illusion is necessary yet an acknowledgement of divisiveness validates unknowability and within that unknowingness, the possibility of self realization.