Monday, August 03, 2009

My ambiguous position

So I've been trying to read a poem here and there, to keep my mind, my life, you know, poetic and all, and I have this volume of Janusz Szuber, whose work I'm strangely attracted to, that I keep turning to over the last couple months, and I'm stuck on this poem:

Caught in the Net

For supper I ate my favorite goat cheese
Sprinkled thickly with pepper and covered with onion slices,
From a jar I forked pitted olives,
Meaty, dripping aromatic brine.

Chewing and carefully mixing all those ingredients
I felt more and more acutely my ambiguous position
Of one caught in the net, the trap, charmed by the bait,
Not even trying to possess the ideal object.

So I love this poem. Not sure why. I think mostly because I'm a big fan of olives. And it makes me hungry, and a little hungry for something more than food. But also it confuses me, because I think it's saying the olive, or any portion of this glorious meal, is not the ideal object, even though I rather think it is, but I can't help but wonder if not this, then what? This food is a distraction of some sort. And I feel like I'm being chastised for even thinking about olives, even though he's the one who brought them up. So what's this ideal object I'm supposed to be after (well, the narrator thinks he ought to pursue it, and it's implied that this is a most worthy goal all of us should aspire to)?

What is baiting us, trying to catch us out? How can this meaty olive not be the ideal object, end in and of itself? As if it's freedom from the olive that is to be desired.


Anonymous said...

I'm curious, how come you removed Pratie Place from your blog roll? I think "they" are awesome...

Signed, your friend,

rachel said...

"Ideal object" strikes me as a little bit ironic. That is, I think he's asking the same question you are: how can olives NOT be enough? We're told they aren't, but these are so good, it's hard to believe that. I know I ought to be thinking higher, but I really don't want to.