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Ego: A solipsism of mind
     which imagines the self
     to be prima facie
     to its being.

Ego: An insularity
     projected upon our nature
     contradicting the essence
     of our humanity,
     driving compassion
     from the realm of intelligibility;
     confusing love with selfishness,
     and empathy with foolishness.

What is this dear thing
herewith called I;
echoing through these
tangled verisimilitudes
a unity of fiction,
of memory lost,
of soliloquy,
in darkness uttered
against a faceless people?

Do I reach no further than this skin,
failing to grasp that foreign comprehension
                                   or apprehension
which may mark my being as against and for
the sweet breath of Other?
Yet, it is there that I arise,
embraced in such glanceless propriety
as lends self by reflection
in the arms of so many friends.

The cult of ego
struggles to erase the intervention
of society, and announce absurd
isolation as the standard condition
                              of man.
And perhaps this is so,
but for it man cannot but suffer
a most terrible rebuke,
in knowing the silence of his tongue
and the meaninglessness of his being.

... But what of woman?
Even by this,
  our most favoured cult-ure,
she is cast out of ego,
shunned by that stark metaphor,
as incapable of the popular forgetfulness
required of sovereignty.

She knows what man refuses to see,
that her skin does not enclose
                         or exhaust
all there is of her being.
She is forced to real-ize
by the tyranny of her name
that Other is not superfluous
     nor incidental
to world or even consciousness.

She cannot hide behind ego,
a misfit of that language,
so is excommunicated to the realm
of irrationality,
of unmanliness,
and thrown, exile, into the
prism of embodiment.

As though flesh
might better guard her secret,
or mystify it by the same oppression
that refuses to let her not see
the tyrannical name of Ego.

© hok, May 8, 1993