Thursday, September 1, 2011

Content May Be Disturbing

Content May Be Disturbing

Warning: content may be disturbing
to some viewers. It depends who you are,

and your tolerance for the repulsive,
what category of grotesque slinks along

your eyeballs, sinking into your mind
when it is relaxed. The body always bothers

us, how injury discolors flesh,
perturbs the otherwise pleasing anatomical line

we use as a backdrop for desire.
Some content will upset you, it is bound

to happen. The awful and hideous,
it slithers toward us, even once we turn away.

Blood. Snakes. Scorpions. Lobsters
staring at you from the tepid tank at the store

like a mangy puppy caged in the pound.
Even nurses’ stomachs can churn, so what does

that mean for the rest of us. There are
unpleasantries for which no euphemism has been

assigned. There’s no controlling this,
that the body fails, that we are scared, and revulsion

lets us turn from the fear fondling us.
There are things you do not want to see up there.

Maybe we can take turns looking.
I’ll tell you when it’s safe. Not yet. Don’t look.


  1. I've seen Nurses turn their heads so as not to 'bare witness'. My eyes have seen some hideousness.
    They welt and fill with tears to be released in abnormal streams when recall spontaneously erupts.

    Fun and well worded, Hanna.

  2. Tell me when I can look, Hannah. Err on the side of caution!

  3. Yes,Hannah. Fears, mostly fears that do not allow us to look. But that would be at our own peril, wouldn't it? Like this. Bravo.

  4. 'There are / unpleasantries for which no euphemism has been / assigned'. A delightfully chilling glimpse into what's beneath the patina of normality.

  5. Sometimes, those warnings, especially on certain "news" and newspaper sites, are nothing more than cheap titillations, goads to get people to look at what has been given no dignity by virtue of being photographed and, in the way photographed, changed (read, manipulated). I always want to ask the question, "If this is so disturbing, why are you showing it?" I also often wonder why so few seem shocked to attend a service where a coffin is open and can't bear to look on the body of person who is loved, but express not at all being disturbed by society's tolerance of violence.

    Good, thought-provoking poem, Hannah.

  6. I like the idea of taking turns looking, like at that image for example. Your turn :-).

  7. Maybe we can take turns looking.
    I’ll tell you when it’s safe. Not yet. Don’t look.

    That is exactly what I do...tell my husband to watch and tell me when I can watch....

    Beautifully and accurately expressed! Only you could do it so well!

  8. I've thought about your poem for most of the day. I guess that is a sign of a good poem when it can make others think about it even after reading it. Anyway, I have some thoughts. I was going to have some major disagreements with the poem, but in the final analysis I think it works fine and is pretty good. The main disagreement I might have had is this: the way I remembered reading the poem, it seemed to say, some people will be disturbed by disturbing content and some will not. My point would have been that disturbing content disturbs everyone. Although the jaded might not appear to be disturbed, disturbing content strikes at their psyche, their soul, and takes its toll. I just watched Dorian Gray last night, and that is the premise of that story: each step into darkness -- each exposure to evil -- has an effect, in this case, reflected in the deterioration of his portrait. You may not see the effect, but it happens. However, upon further consideration, as I said earlier, I think you do a pretty good job of handling the subject matter. One other thing, though, there is a word for (almost) everything. Are there really unpleasantries for which no euphemism has been assigned? That may be true, but it is also something to think about. Anyway, I hope this is helpful.


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