Poem: Homo Sacer


Hopper E. (1952). Morning Sun [Painting]. Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH, US. Retrieved from: https://www.edwardhopper.net/morning-sun.jsp

[Image Description: Woman wearing pink nightgown sits on the bed. She faces the sun and is lost in thought]

Poem by Trystan Willis

Homo Sacer*

Sacred: superhuman?

Or inhuman: other.

Separate. Held in esteem,

Low or high, exalted or scorned,

No matter which.

The same difference.

Free for you to worship,

Free for you to abuse,

Free for you, but not me.

The attention,

It’s unavoidable, isn’t it?

Under wraps, tucked away:

I don’t want to alarm you.

A Venetian mask,

Worn for your convenience. 

Angels and devils alike:

Just in case.

AI can’t tell the difference between missiles and spaceships.

*Homo Sacer is based on the eponymous concept in philosophy formulated by Giorgio Agamben, which basically states that, in society, certain groups of people are othered – made ‘sacred’ – separate from the everyday person. Agamben says that this can be both a blessing and a curse, as it can mean that people are deified, or it can mean that they are completely scorned and trodden upon.

My name is Trystan Willis; I’m 16 years old; my pronouns are he/him; and I live in the UK. I’m currently a student, and as an on-and-off hobby, I write short stories, plays, poems, and essays.