Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A poem revisited and Lacan's repetition automatism

Even though I promised myself to write daily, I've decided to revisit something I've written before. This led me to think about, not only my laziness, but of memories and the fixation of certain memories. Some memories return for obvious reasons, because they played such critical roles in our lives. But there are memories we wish to put to rest, yet we’re constantly returning to them. I’m reminded of Lacan’s notion of “repetition automatism” which he articulates in his seminar on Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Purloined Letter.” It is this compulsion to repeat and it is related to the death drive. We are compelled to repeat painful, even destructive, actions, many times in hope of a different outcome. So, in other words, the death drive leads to the continuous re-locating/moving/positioning of the subject which “materializes the agency of death.” For Lacan, as for Freud, this repetition s inevitable as we’re moving along a chain of signifiers. Alas, we should examine why we return to certain points.

I’ve always wondered what you think of
When you stop talking

You do think, right?

Your thoughts are surely of a light blue
a blue flame -- Copper Halides
you were always warmer in silence
your frown calm

or have you been enveloped by capitalism
that you think in green
meadow fields on fire

or do your neurons dance
every colour
and all you see is movement
swings and hips

or do you deconstruct the alphabet
digging up ancient codes
translating red scripture

or are you thinking of a response
and rethinking that response
and of my response to your response

or has the conversation ended
and your thoughts colourblind