Toward A Philosophy of the Guillotine

A poem by Brennan S. Chambre

How can I read literary theory when the Pentagon is preparing for nuclear war?
How can Bahktin help me bring down the U.S. government?
What does heteroglossia tell me about imperialism and genocide if not
           reminding me of all the voices,
           deliberately silenced and preferably unheard
           and the singular narrative feeding tube
           administered to keep a rowdy nation quiet.
What does a dialogic imagination do if not
           showing me who is a participant
           and who is a just a spectator
           in the drama of Democracy
And what use is the chronotope if not to point out
           that’s the corner in East Flatbush where
           they shot Kimani Gray on March 9, 2013
           and this is the apartment on Monroe Street
           in Chicago where they murdered Fred Hampton
           on the early morning of December 4, 1969
           and this is where they dropped the bomb
           on August 6, 1945
           and this is where they dropped the other one
           on August 9, 1945—
                     et. cetera, ad infinitum
Rabelais and his world are not our world but
           we can see the beast in its crib.
           At the carnival we may laugh at the Lords
           and embrace the animism of our bodies
           and they’ll laugh right along
           because it feels better to be in on the joke
           and the butt of it
           than a straight-faced spectator from a distance.
           But laughing at them degrades them.
           That’s just what we’ve got to do
           until we can do more to them.

Brennan S. Chambre is currently an undergraduate English/Urban & Regional Studies major at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. He is an aspiring writer, researcher and political organizer and won the 2013 VCU Undergraduate Writing Award in Creative Nonfiction. He plays guitar in the Richmond-based band The Cales and is an active member of the Industrial Workers of the World labor union.

One thought on “Toward A Philosophy of the Guillotine

  1. Pingback: Towards A Philosophy of the Guillotine | Research Material

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