Emotions and Inter-Dialogism


How do the emotions of individuals play into, or out of, Inter-Dialogism? To make an Inter-Dialogic leap into someone’s brain and out again, and glean whatever you can, presupposes in the individual making the leap that personal emotions will not interfere with the process. Obviously, human consonance being what it is, this cannot always be the case. The murkiness of making an Inter-Dialogic leap while one’s emotions are wreaking havoc with one’s ability to perceive truth is a fact of life, both in literature (the more personal varieties of literature) and in our daily lives. In fact, the core essence of both Meta-Dialogism and Inter-Dialogism are threatened by their potential chiasmus with chaotic, disheveled, impenetrable emotions, and by the sense that without the objectivity that manifests along with emotional detachment, both of these leaps become mere leaps of faith, unsteadied by a relationship to what might be called intuitive empiricism. This plays out in poetry, literature, and drama, in the manifestation of unreliable narrators, characters desperate, destructive, unlucky, and emotionally unsteady enough so that, as intuitive as they might be, neither we as an audience nor they can ever really be sure they are drawing the right conclusions from whatever situation might be at hand. Inter-Dialogism is dogged by subjectivist interests every time, so that rose colored or dark colored spectacles take raw data and misshape them or configure them out of proportion. Apparition Poem 1488 is a case in point— a representation of a harsh situation— complete severance of contact with the beloved in question for the protagonist— with no reason given. What ever Inter-Dialogic leaps have been made on both sides have led to stalemate; even as the protagonist, as besotted as he might be, must adopt the dry ice approach in discussing his predicament:

liquor store, linoleum
floor, wine she chose
            was always deep red,
            dark, bitter aftertaste,
            unlike her bare torso,
                        which has in it
                        all that ever was
                        of drunkenness—
to miss someone terribly,
to both still be in love, as
she severs things because
            she thinks she must—
            exquisite torture, it’s
            a different bare torso,
(my own) that’s incarnadine—

We assume here that there have been Inter-Dialogic leaps on both sides. Yet, if these are two emotionally vulnerable, emotionally unstable individuals, what has been communicated from brain to brain cannot sink in and be assimilated the right way. This is especially the case if booze is involved, which confuses boundaries and senses of proportions and forces things to flow in a warped direction. That warpage gives 1488 an eerie glow of strange dimensions and unclean leaps, unclean consciousness. The significance of the linoleum floor as a symbol is that it works as a synecdoche of all the different forms of warpage on offer here— alcoholism, emotional desperation, overactive imaginations, and (perhaps most tragically) Inter-Dialogic leaps which suggest both some purity of intention and some genuine psycho-affective chemistry, but which are getting trampled by the inhumanity of the landscape these characters inhabit. Linoleum floors are cold, un-homely, homogenous surfaces, which reflect (also) the coldness of the complete severance between the two in question. The warm, companionable, sensuous side of drunken-heartedness— vino veritas, also— is being buried by consciousness which can no longer have stable reactions, so that what has been learned from the requisite Inter-Dialogic leaps knitting soul to soul cannot be recalled and skillfully employed the right way. It may be the case that the muse of 1488 knows this, and that it accounts for her severance of the relationship. If so, the protagonist has a ways and means of accessing a note of pure pathos, which resounds in the poem, even as he also reveals that his assumed mastery of his muse’s heart, and what it has in it (“all that ever was/of drunkenness”), has to be false, because he seems not to know the reason for the sudden severance, which should be clear to him. When Inter-Dialogism is nullified by subjectivist interests, consciousness can fester and transform itself into all shapes and sizes of narcissistic delusion, even as the protagonist in 1488 attempts to reach beyond his narcissism.