The Museum of the Lord of Shame
by Gary Rosenthal
The Museum of the Lord of Shame is a chapbook made of the long title poem in a poetry collection that originally was to have been published by North Atlantic Books. Its Coda first appeared in Sark's Succulent Wild Woman, published by Simon and Schuster.
Not everything in the soul is sweetness and light. This poem evokes that part of the soul that often presents the first major initiation in inner work. Here we encounter the witch or troll-like part of the soul that can lead us to cringe in shame--a self-negating voice that leads us to not trust ourselves--or the universe; an undermining part of the soul that views us through a darkened lens.
This is the voice of bad mirroring--that may continue to live in us as childhood's dark legacy; an often-invisible component of our narcissistic wound. Until we confront the Lord of Shame there are many gifts of our true selves that remain cloaked and in hiding.
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Excerpt from The Museum of the Lord of Shame
"& so, when we get close
to the wound, when we cross
the border into Egypt
& begin to get close
to where the secrets are buried,
our nervous system hears a voice
& the voice says,
"you don't really want to go down there"
and you really don't.
Anymore than Orpheus wanted to go down
the dark staircase
where cobwebs pulse
upon which the ghosts of houseflies
try to leap out of this world.
But what you need
lives down there
of your predictable borders
where the soul is
encrusted in salt
from the tears we've yet to shed..."