Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Second Person Blogular

I learned the use of the second person blogular from Lekshe. She wrote the most poignant, simple love poems, and they were all addressed to "you."

Having always been in more or less in love with Lekshe (along with half the people who know her: it's no distinction -- she's the sort of person who inspires devotion), the effect of these poems was pretty powerful. They were addressed to me, after all.

Now, of course they weren't addressed to drab and unexciting me. But -- they were, too. She would emphatically deny that they weren't to me, or that they weren't to anyone else. The point of them (one point of them) was to leverage all that erotic intensity into getting past the you and me. I have no doubt they were also love poems with particular people in mind. But to Lekshe, what most people take to be the end of erotic love was its beginning. The point of Eros is not to settle your attention on a single person, and to absorb all their energy, while they absorb all of yours. That doesn't make you into little gods, no matter what Hollywood claims: it makes you into a dual black hole, sucking in light and giving none out.

Jarrett wrote in a comment a couple days back:

This is fascinating in light of your comment on my last post, that "what I do is not writing, that I'm not a writer, that I don't know art but I know what I like, that I'm just writing journals or at most letters." Now I understand the second person who creeps unseen through so much of what you write; she's the necessary other that makes this a mere epistle.

That's the other primary use, for me, of the second person in this blog. I need to be speaking to some one person in order to speak at all. The person varies. Sometimes in the course of a single sentence. When I come back to rewrite, she's often not the same person she was when I first wrote the line.

There are plenty of people to whom this will seem just creepy. But it's the way I have always experienced the world -- as a shifting lover, constant only in beauty.

What I have promised, says Eddison's Aphrodite, I will perform.

She has not promised constancy. She has not even promised love. Her only promise is that she will always, always be beautiful. She promises to break our hearts.

And that's enough.

So when I refer to "you" in this blog, I mean exactly what I say. I mean you.

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