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Sport 14: Autumn 1995

A Poem About Castration

A Poem About Castration

Today on television a man described his own castration, how his girlfriend’s ex-lover beat him severely with a blunt object and cut off his penis with a knife. He told this with a certain clinical distance, as if it had happened to someone else—in the scientific tone one would expect of a doctor, or a paid guest on a morning talk show.

I turned off the television. I felt sick, but then I was feeling sick before the program. The flu, as they say. A fever. Vomiting. Etc.

And I picked up a book on Baudelaire, a very academic book. —a book using words like valorize, simulacrum and signifier. —a book citing sources like Blanchot, Bersani, and Benjamin. —a book about castration. —about castration in some figurative sense. Something or other about absence, Lacan and the phallus as a mask. —about the false security of the phallus. —about the phallus as the absence of the phallus. —about the absence of the phallus as the presence of the phallus. —etc.

I put down the book. I no longer felt sick, but then I was feeling better as the day wore on, anyway. The sun came out and lit the white facade of the apartment complex across the street. I took a shower and went out for lunch.