Daniela Olszewska, “Inside the Sun”

Inside the Sun (from 350 Poems)
Daniela Olszewska

Inside the sun is a larger than average sized junta.
And inside the junta is a smaller than average sized mutant owl.
Of course, inside the mutant owl, is an regular-shaped metronome
With a tick tick tock complex.


I just wanted to bring the work of Ms. Olszewska to your attention. Her poems have a directness and sense of humor in their ridiculous, terrible and always thoughtful imagery. It’s a lot of fun, like she’s throwing words around and it just simply falls into place (see also: “Designated Driver”). Her subject matter is more sexual than most of the poems I write on; her political beliefs are writ bold. I confess I wouldn’t have discovered her work if she hadn’t expressed a liking for a poem of Dickinson’s.

I don’t want to interpret this poem. It doesn’t speak to me in that way. Yes, the things life revolves around are absurd, violent, only purportedly wise. They rule us even as they are ruled by time itself. Are they worth thinking about the same way, say, race relations or types of regimes are?

No, and that’s what’s strange. This poem plays with a mock cosmology. It feels like it somehow rightly mocks that tragedy is felt necessarily as the truth. Isn’t that a difficult, serious conclusion we’re supposed to be grappling with all the time? At the moment, I’m going through a book which discusses at excruciating length the Heideggerian thesis that prior to Plato, there were attempts to articulate the whole and Being with a standard of truth tied more to Being (perhaps more to life as actually lived) than to verbiage (logos: arguments, concepts, abstractions, correctness). The idea seems to be that there is something intuitive and powerful about statements like “everything is water” or “everything is air,” pre-Socratic science (here I’m lifting from Nietzsche), as they emerge from how one is experiencing things more than arguments. What sense does it make to bring an elaborate intellectual framework composed of details and opinions and principles and theories to bear on how one sees the world?

I guess when I put it that way, Ms. Olszewska’s poem and Heidegger/Nietzsche actually have something in common. The ridiculousness of positing a cosmology is precisely the point for both. Forget knowing the whole: half the time, we’re trying to discover how we feel.


    1. Yeah, I definitely felt that we were talking about nesting dolls too. Would be cool if someone crafted a nesting doll with a junta, mutant owl and metronome. Literally, craft a poem.

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