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Friday, July 30, 2010

Lessons in allocentrism

Into our fun house of mirror neurons,
a favorite Fellini character strides
distorted perhaps,
but reflected clearly enough,
none the lesser for our wear.

Who is it? Which one?
It’s truly hard to decide.

It could be that brute Zampanò,
his chain unpopped,
and as ever demanding our attention...

Or the cypher, Steiner,
teetering on edge
to tell us his secrets...

Or a voluptuous
la Saraghina,
reveling in our riveted eyes...

Or gentle Giulietta,
chasing her voices,
their whispers that echo ours.

It doesn’t matter who, in the end.
Better yet, let’s take them all,
and crowd them close in.

What matters is,
we ask they try
a seeming simple task—
touching tongue to nose,
or elbow to chin—
and we watch
their attempts, together.

Strive and fail.
Strive and fail.
Strive and fail.

These are the Sisyphean rhythms
we’ll need to learn.

We have our limits,
but empathy is endless.


In this week's Big Tent Poetry prompt, Jill Crammond-Wickham asks us to imagine pop culture icons in a mundane setting. I'm sure what I find iconic might not measure up as "pop" and my mundane is always quite mental, but Fellini and a fun house seemed a natural fit for exploring some neurological concepts.
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