What I’ve Learned So Far About Erasure


I keep beginning to write about censorship and stopping myself. I’ve composed at least two facebook posts on the subject that I published and promptly deleted. In my work, I’ve begun a long series of erasure poems using an out-of-fashion, certainly not very PC children’s book on the Old West, which in my head, have begun to call The Redaction Project. I’ve also pulled Catch 22 off the shelf again and begun reading it, again, for maybe the 20th time in my life.

Oh there’s so much to say about hands over mouths, black markers and white-out; shhhhh-shhhhhing through copyright infringement suits, blocked websites, and cameras that keep idiots like Trump in frame while disembodied voices of reason only float in from the periphery. I censor myself through fear of both my government’s power and its failures, of course, but also fear of rejection—the most sinister form of fear, because true starvation promises martyrdom where social starvation only promises a forgettable and lonely life.

I’m beginning to learn something about what is said through what isn’t, and keep repeating, in my head, this conditional: if the sky is filled with light, then the stars are invisible. Adding negatives to this logic especially interests me: what does it mean when a message can exist only through the absence of what should be the all-important contextual narrative?

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