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Mosaic Inception

Claire Romaine's picture

Dialogue with Dead Men

The pages swim before my eyes
a jumble of letters
speaking for a man
long gone.

I demand for him to talk
to tell me what he thought
but his speech is slurred
and his mind is elsewhere.
He sits across the table
and already fleeing
back to his half-life
among the underlined words
and desecrated corpses


This post is a kind of mosaic within a mosaic within another mosaic (Hence the title).  Firstly it’s a mosaic because I wrote this poem a long time ago and I am now combining it with recent writing.  Secondly because I’m mixing poetry and prose and thirdly because a couple of the lines are things I remember my political theory teacher, which I then combined with my own writing.

Anyways, back to how this applies to Sontag’s essay.  This poem is a reflection and to a certain extent a complaint (like Sontag’s essay) about how we analyze and interpret authors without any idea as to what they truly intended to convey to us.  Yet, since we can no longer speak to them, we must try to interrogate them through the writing they left behind.  Sontag would say that there is no reason to try to derive meaning from their work, while I focused on how our interpretations are by no means guaranteed to be loyal to the original author.  Sontag talked about change in interpretation over time, as well, when she said that the meanings we derive from a piece of art change to conform to our times and our own individual ideals.