Saturday, August 6, 2016

Lacunal Dialectic

Lacunal Dialectic

They gave the wide-eyed eccentric
the wild electric


there's a  price for every metric,
every loggorheic epic

showing we pull from world-bone

a hole
that goes systemic,  

and fill it,

So they made
his dialogue enteric,

scaled to monosyllabic

hurt            love           scream          want


changed everything he said
and killed his head.

~August 2016

posted for    real toads

Notes: I often used to add abstruse words to my 55's to tease the G-Man, who would pretend he didn't get it, but of course, we knew better. So this one in particular, despite its rather grim subject matter, made me remember him.

"Ernest Hemingway, American author, committed suicide shortly after ECT at the Mayo Clinic in 1961. He is reported to have said to his biographer, "Well, what is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital, and putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient...." ~wikipedia

Electro-convulsive therapy (electro-shock) is still considered a valid treatment for depression and other mental illness, despite mixed evidence of its effectiveness, and can still be administered without consent in some situations. You can find a list of other famous people who have undergone it HERE.

Top image: Brain, author unknown,  source
Footer: 'A Bergonic chair, a device "for giving general electric treatment for psychological effect, in psycho-neurotic cases", according to original photo description. World War I era.'~ via wikimedia 


  1. Oh gee, so sad. They did lobotomies too. So so sad. I did not know that Hemingway had undergone this. Very effective sing-song and yet your meanings all fit together sensibly--sense-ibly--and heighten the sadness of the monosyllabic words. (Maybe they are better at all that now--therapies-- but I'm not convinced!) Anyway, thanks. Great pics too, by the way. If sad. k.

  2. I have very strong feelings regarding the treatments administered to the mentally I'll, both in the past and the present (where there is apparently a drug for everything).
    The word choice is tremendous my fitting for your tone and subject. You even included some rhymes.
    In all, a great piece of satire in 55.

  3. This is terrifyingly vivid. The sing-song word play feels like an omen of evil sung in the middle of a horror movie.

  4. Yes, a horrifying thing, only slightly exceeded by the horrors of frontal lobotomy, which at first I thought you were describing.

    Your writing is vivid!

    I didn't know that's what happened to Hemingway before he suicided. Now it is all too understandable.

  5. this word led you into a shockingly imaginative sphere - impressive rhyme too
    p.s. the choices of chemical cosh or ECT are not great - Hemingway may well have wanted to die (like his father) once his poor physical health also meant that he could no longer live life to the fullest of his own expectations.

  6. Medications, especially for psychological disorders, can leave a soul wishing all sorts of things--many of them half-impossible... or rather final. Your word list in the penultimate stanza draws a very good picture of it.

  7. Perhaps it is a little bit like hitting your toe with a hammer, when you have a tooth ache? It takes you mind off the orignal pain? What a fun piece about a serious subject...if we keep acting normal, perhaps they won't guess, and won't put the electricity to our skulls.

  8. This is straight up amazing, Hedge. Wow.

  9. First, let me say that I am stunned by some of the names on the list you provided the link to. Dick Cavett! Lou Reed! Michael Moriarty! My goodness. I feel Hemingway's remarks in my gut. How absolutely awful.

    Your poem is as jolting as the thing it describes. Short, unsparing, terrifying. Amazing work in just 55 words, Hedge.

  10. Amazing is the perfect descriptive word for your poem ~~~ Cuckoo's nests are not for the feint of heart. 'Killed his head' is terrifying.

  11. Nicely written mental trip

  12. The systemic hole and the wild bone cutting electric are topics that could take thousands of lines of poems to bring to life, but you did very nicely here with so little. Outside of the seriousness of the topic, I liked your phrasing of "wild electric" I may use that to prompt me for this weeks 55!!!

  13. Friggen brilliant. Electroshock, for all its errors and terrors, probably made this world more habitable for H's circle if not himself. Like Rilke sd, kill my devils you off my angels to boot. Some say we're born with a God sized hole within, but I like the way you put it much better.

  14. Powerful in rhythm and words. It is appalling how the mentally ill were/are treated. When I was a kid my neighbor would be taken in for shock treatments. She would come home and sit in a chair facing the wall. She never reacted verbally until all of a sudden she would be herself again.

  15. Aaaargh, this sounds painful. Extremely well written, though.

  16. a barber... a barbaric... a harbor of bears... a layer of lairs... ~


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats