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Orfanos, S. (2017). Dignified Melodrama and Cheap Passion. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(3):358-361.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(3):358-361

Dignified Melodrama and Cheap Passion

Spyros D. Orfanos, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.

The Orange Colonel

(After Carolyn Forché)

by Frank Bloom

WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD IS TRUE. He won. Politics has always been more to us than just voting. This time we even donated. Our lawn sign read #we’rewithher. Because choice matters, because healthcare matters, because Barack and Michelle matter, because the babies in Newtown matter. Because the climate has changed. We spoke to Boomers who had edged right. We cornered millennials who were feeling the Bern. We sent out a family list email, to remind all of them how ma would have proudly pulled the lever for the first woman president. We listened to WNYC every day, and watched MSNBC every night. We believed Nate Silver. She canvassed in Scranton, I went to Ohio. We were sitting on the sofa in the basement. The talking heads looked shell shocked. Pennsylvania teetered, so we left the room. I rustled through my dresser to find sweat pants and a long sleeved jersey, and then crawled under the covers. I did not sleep. I saw him mocking the reporter, and sniffling and stalking. I saw him clapping before the throng, cap pulled down low so I could not see his eyes. I heard him bragging about grabbing. Raindrops tapped at the windows when she should have been making her victory speech. In the dark next morning I could not turn on the radio. I could not look my wife in the eye. I hugged our daughter when she began to sob. There is no other way to say this. I quit.

November 9, 2016

In 1967, when three colonels of the Greek military overthrew their democratic government and established a military dictatorship for seven years, I started collecting poetry books of witness. My collection attests to Greek poets surviving harrowing conditions—exile, repression, deprivation, beatings, torture, death camps, and prison. I have had the good fortune to personally know many of these poets. I have interviewed and studied some and listened to their reflections on what it is poetry “does,” if anything, and how it goes about this at different historical moments. When discussing poetry, the political is always close by. The poets I know make little distinction among the personal, the political, and the poetic.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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