The focus of the following poems is the interplay between people, which I think is the only way a person can know what their condition is. Other people are the mirror in which we see ourselves, and the only means by which we can know our own condition, which I do believe is the only condition we can truly know.
The following poems map what isolation does to a human in our epoch of extreme interrelation, blurring the hot mirage of conjured reality with events from a diminished ambit into a sort of emotional impressionism. Loneliness alone, loneliness in company. The clinging to memory. The double consciousness of looking inside and out. Visions swinging between fear and wonder.
In the 1950s, Harry Harlow performed a controversial psychological experiment in which he separated baby monkeys from their mothers and placed them in isolation for months. The effects included: mental distress, depression, aggression towards self and others, and obliteration of social instincts. Animal rights supporters’ outrage led to the criticism of solitary confinement for humans in prison — if the effects were this debilitating for monkeys trapped in a cage, how then can humans cope with the same conditions? On a larger scale, the past year (2020) has introduced large swaths of Earth’s population to governmental lockdowns due to COVID-19. Though much of the world has since reopened, we have been faced with the reality of isolation and its trade-offs when it comes to contracting COVID-19. “The Rabbit Hutch” grapples with the effects of social isolation and the desire for freedom despite what might be waiting for the narrator outside of lockdown.
As we age, a common human experience is losing faith in the institutions we grew up believing in (i.e. family, government, economy, education, and religion). Is the American medical industry an institution we should have faith in, or not? Could it be causing unnecessary harm by promoting the invention of diseases, utilizing erroneous mental health categories, and informing its practices on funding? What are the positives of the American medical industry when compared to other countries? How do we fix the errors of this American institution to purely reflect an apolitical agenda intent on servicing those in need?
How do ideals interfere with our ability to perceive reality? Is a jaded person just an optimist who encountered reality? This poem touches on the experience of reacting to things outside one’s control to the point at which it breaks one down.
Where do we derive meaning for our existence and how do we find happiness? Can souls be nourished like bodies? If the world is a window, what do we see when we look in as we pass it by?
How has mate selection changed over time? How does assortative dating affect future populations?
How is a person defined? Is there a construct that accurately addresses the complexity of personhood?