The Problem of Safety:
a Manifesto

The raison d’etre of much
Aestheticism, as of
the entire hermetic tradition
in modern art,
from Symbolism to
the enigmas of minimalism,
has been the need to conceal
one’s true feelings and opinions,
the expression of which
in any directer mode
would have lead to scandal
and ostracism. Rossetti
disguised his lusts
in the tinsel of an un-
believed-in religion,
while Freud wrote his poems
in the form of treatises.
Both wished to avoid
the ready comprehension
of their enemies.
Early in their craft
all poets learn to
hide their meanings
even from themselves.