Elegy 427 & the Self-Posited


The tensions inherent in Meta-Dialogism— competing voices vying for a place in a single consciousness— are re-explored in Elegy 427. Here, self-consciousness fights back against its own power to discern, and the battle is seen to be a losing one. The drama which attends 427 as a construct is itself attendant on an edifice erected by an individual, for the edification of an individual— a self-posited, self-sustaining pact with a place (Glenside, a borough of Cheltenham Township, and the borough which has the most claim to reality as an autonomous locale in and of itself), which becomes a rampart employed by consciousness against a sense of uselessness in the world:

When she starts at Rizzo’s, winds her way around
to Easton Road on Saturday night, it's with full
control, absolute mastery— here’s where Glenside
stands, where it’s going, here’s why. The game
continues over to Limekiln Pike— Wawa, Tail
of the Whale. Not just the surface, but who’s
hiding where, with what, & again why. Yet deep
in her heart, the ultimate why, life or death in
a sense of purpose, remains barren. The spider
in the glass case, frozen in the Humphrey’s
Pest Control window, is to the point— Humphrey’s
never answers anyway— the spider tells her
where the real action is. Then the beauty of it—
her sacrifice to/for Glenside— becomes just another
heist in the world. Limekiln Pike is too steep to climb.

This individual desires that the voice of the self-sustained, self-posited pact should subsist as something dominant in her consciousness. The drama of fluctuations and oscillations, wherein the pact is either workable or nullified by both the corruptions inherent in Glenside and in the human race in general, enacts itself in Meta-Dialogic acknowledgements, an array of voices which command the narrative sense built into her brain. When what speaks most eloquently refutes the possibility of the pact (or, as in the poem, sacrifice), and affirms the reality (or spider) of an anti-idealistic world, predicated on the prevalence of killing, massacre, destruction, the interior voice which knocks the pact from its perch is about futility, and the impossibility of sustaining an ideal in the face of spider-webbed realities. The mimetic process, for the reader, involves itself building up a rampart, wherein this character (heroine) is someone we can believe in and take seriously, against the impinging sense of doubt and disbelief that she can be dismissed as impractical or romantic, or both.