Killing in the Name of

I find the final pages of Juliana Spahr’s this connection as some of the most interesting verses in her long poem.  Throughout the poem, she is writing about and combining the micro and the macro, the “beloved and the afar” (13), and trying to express the connectedness of everything around her, and the most vivid imagery of this connectedness is her connection with the war illustrated at the end of the poem.  She begins the long parallel of her life and the war in Iraq with the words, “Today, as this war begins, every word we say is caught – and we feel it in the room all day long” (72).  For the next three pages, Spahr spells out how her actions are mirrored in her connectedness with the war.

I guess what is so intriguing about this section of the poem is the fact that she just keeps going on and on about how the war is connected with her life.  In a sense, she is giving the reader an example of the connectedness she has been talking about throughout the rest of the poem.  At first I thought the way she ended the poem was so strange and did not really make sense, but after thinking about it for a while, I have realized that she is tying the poem together with this climax.  She is giving a very personal example of the connectedness of the world.

It may be hard to see the connection between Lisa Marie Presley having sex with Michael Jackson and air-to-surface precision bombs (73), or the florida nurse who died of smallpox and the M270 mutiple-launch system, or Spahr’s lover’s cheeks and guided missile cruisers, but to Spahr these things are directly connected.  Saying that Spahr is expounding upon the idea of ‘the butterfly effect’ would be too cliche and simplistic, but Spahr does seem to be saying that everything directly effects everything.  Her example highlights her line at the beginning of the poem, “How lovely and how doomed this connection of everyone with lungs” (10).  There are moments of beauty in this connection, but Spahr chooses to end the poem on a very depressing note by drawing the deep connection between her life and war, her day to day routine and the inadvertent killing of people.  While we are all connected by lungs, by life, we are essentially killing each other through this connectedness.  I think class on Tuesday had to end on a depressing note because it suits the depressing end of this poem.  There does not seem to be any real hope for life at the end of this connection, just war.

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