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Final lap

In by Wyatt on December 7, 2010 at 9:21 pm

The only thing I know about this is he’s my friend, and I’m here for him. Beyond that, I’m clueless — what type of shoes, the texture of the track, the warm-up regiment, the pacing per lap, what it’ll mean if he doesn’t make it, what it’ll mean if he does.

I notice that he’s already started. No loud snap from a ceremonial cap gun, no roaring fans, just a “go” from his coach, and he’s catapulting around the red oval. Such effort, sacrifice, determination, drive, for this.

Five minutes later he’s back where he started, and so far from it.

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  1. My first impression -please correct me if I’m wrong- is that the poem describes the meaninglessness of modern life. The runner symbolizes the Everyman, always striving for meaning and purpose. The track symbolizes human achievement. It is striking that Achievement is represented as an oval, and not as a straight line, with a clear cut beginning and end. The Runner reaches the end of the track, only to begin once again. The Runner, having reached his goal, merely repeats it once again; it is clearly symbolic of a life lived without true purpose, and propped up by artificial goals (such as finishing the lap) which are ultimately meaningless. In my opinion, the key to unlocking the poem is to comprehend that the Runner, instead of repeating the circuit in nihilistic hamster-wheel fashion, should head towards the CENTER of the track. The center of the ‘Red Oval’ represents the depth of human emotions, possibly love, friendship, intimacy etc. I think the poem’s underlying message is that these emotions are much more important than “what it’ll mean if he doesn’t make it, what it’ll mean if he does” around the track. Unfortunately, the Runner misses the point of his existence, in his constant, futile struggle to finish the lap. Indeed, “Five minutes later he’s back where he started, and so far from it.” The ‘it’ is clearly the meaning of life, human emotions and intimate contact, which reside at the center of the track, which the Runner is running away from.

    This poem seems to me to be a parable of one of the tragic aspects of the human condition. It is touching, moving and deep, and needs to be subjected to the rigors of literary deconstuctive theory to be properly understood. Incredible job.

    • Also, this poem is 101 words. It is clearly significant that the 101st word is ‘it’, which properly analyzed, refers, in this context, to the meaning of life.

    • Hahahahahahahahahahaha Dude I LOVE you and I LOVE THIS!

      Oh my god boi, this just made my day!!!

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