The Other Chair
A dream, one teen night ago
featured a soulmate
facing me in a room
filled with empty chairs
that were irrelevant.
There was only me and
the man who sat on the other chair.
It could have been a classroom, a conference,
a panel, a course, a strange cult meeting
in a sterile environment, or a room in
A chair has never been just a chair
for most of my life
And then, I started
disregarding and forgetting dreams;
It could have been a public lecture
in the 25th century on a space ship
as they recollected how humans first
settled on the moons of Saturn.
It could have been in a service hall
somewhere in Moscow in the 1960s.
Or, it could have been an asylum
all along, and I am still asleep
avoiding the moment
when I awaken to gaze
at white walls, to be brought
into the next room
where you await me
on the other chair
with a syringe and a kidney dish…
I started forgetting and
disregarding dreams; every
chair lost its meaning and mystery.
My paranoias fed upon different sources,
and when they ran away,
so did the spectres of future soulmates.
Instead I feed on suitors who exist
on pages, in ASCII: words and numbers
that make mockery of meaning —
— defying it with multiplicity.
In this universe of consonants and vowels,
ambiguity between the signifier and the signified
a chair becomes whatever you say it is
and I become whoever you want me to be.
I am not Magritte’s Pipe
but you are not Magritte.
I am the Beloved, seated on the other chair
and you may paint me or smoke me or dream of me
because paranoia loves company.
Poem by (c) Nin Harris 2012–. One of the poems in my Stripping Foucault collection of 2012 that I really need to submit somewhere, I suppose. I keep putting it off every year.