Friday, March 29, 2013

Analysis of "Myth Dispelled" by Adam Possner

Original poem reprinted online here: "Myth Dispelled" by Adam Possner
Originally read: January 8, 2013
More information about the Poet: Adam Possner

I think the poem depends on the "him/you" on being a patient...or maybe not.  For funsies, the poem could be referring to the speaker himself debating his/her scientific/spiritual self with the speaker being more cynical about the cynical at the end.  Also for funsies the speaker could use "you" as referring to the audience, but then that places the audience in the weird position: feeling superior for knowing better, feeling inferior for not knowing exactly how vaccines work and the speaker having to explain them.  However, for my reading, I'm going to be reading the poem as the speaker being personal with a patient.

The tone shifts in the poem, I feel here, are more personal quality.  In "feeder" there's a sense of extremism with the shifts (through surreal images and direct rhetoric).  Here there's a reassurance feel from the beginning, "It's a dead virus, there's / nothing alive about it. / It can't make you sick."  Even the shift in tone, "That's a myth" the tone shift not a bell drop -- loud needing to be heard, it's more of a water dropping in a pond where there's a sense of exasperation.  This sense/feeling is furthered with how the speaker describes the procedure: "an inch under the stratum / corneum, as sanctioned by / your signature."

Then there's a turn to the outlandish -- maybe even mythical with the lines after the scientific description:

     in a white coated ceremony
     presided over by
     my medical assistant
     and then mark the grave
     with a temporary
     non-stick headstone.

First, I didn't realize this my first or other reads, but right now I like the adj,/noun combination of non-stick headstone -- there's a sense of humor in it.  Also even before realizing the adj./noun combination, I felt this part had a sense of cynicism to it.  Like the "you" didn't understand the scientific and, now, explanation should work...and I get a chance it does, "of that vaccine / has a 70 to 90 percent / chance of warding off / the Evil One"  (Voila Magic!).

And I feel the cynicism comes ahead at the end, "and that's the God's honest truth."  The end is a good punctuation to the piece.  Also, the end adds a sinister quality to the title "Myth Dispelled." 

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