If love’s a sweet passion why does it torment?
If a bitter, oh tell me, whence comes my content?
Since I suffer with pleasure, why should I complain,
or grieve at my fate, when I know t’is in vain?
Yet so pleasing the pain is, so soft as the dart,
That at once it both wounds me and tickles my heart


whence comes my content, indeed

(as opposed to: wherein does my content occur)

when will it ?fill me up?

the problem at hand is the lack of content,

or the lack of satisfaction with content.

the poetic narrator

— whom we immediately identify as female in the performance of the song,

because that’s what is historically associated with a high pitched singing voice —

is an empty vessel

she is desiring


never full

not receptive?



or rather,


— dumb?

one could also ask, under which conditions can a female narrator be meaningful, find fulfillment?


the narrator is experiencing confusion about how to categorize her sensations

what is the essential flavor of the passion she is experiencing?

sweet, or bitter?

the simultaneity of the two flavors is causing her both positive and negative stress



an incongruency that demands categorization,

but resists being placed in one single category


have you noticed that line of the song

?yet so pleasing the pain is?

i can’t help but hear

?yet so pleasing the penis?

pain is


the dart penetrating the desiring heart is soft

the poetic narrator of the song is investigating

the intertwinement of pleasure and pain in the desire to be penetrated,

“filled up”

through metaphors coded with a language of consumption and of presupposed heterosexuality


oh tell me, she asks –

she needs information,


information – latin for “to give form, shape to something”

there is desire for content and content in the poetic text

but which of the two is it –

does the narrator require to be “filled up”,

or informed, filled in, given a new shape

to better hold the content?


a female poet goes to a bar and asks the bartender for information

and he says

“I am going to fill you up”

the narrator is confused

a soft penis is piercing her heart

she turns to the listener

and asks

“why am I staying at the bar when I could be writing?”


if the penis were hard, the dart solid, it would be purely intrusive, unpleasant, mere torture

but since it is soft, it also tickles

tickling is a moment of perverse intimacy,

in which laughter can very suddenly transform into tears,

when the tickled is overpowered by the tickler

a sucessful tickle creates intimacy without exploitation

as the uncertainty about when and where the (un)pleasant feeling will occur

is carried, held by the tickler


both a wound and a tickle

the intertwinement of pleasure with pain is especially pernitious because it discredits the poetic narrator’s right to complain or grieve

as part of the narrator enjoys the torture,

complaint and grief are forbidden, futile, vapid activities

“I know t’is in vain”, she says

in vain –

i can’t help but hear



(having the self-conceit to believe one was allowed to complain or grieve)

vanus, latin for empty, lacking content

again, “fill me up”

she asks the listener once more: “fill me in”, “how can I find fulfillment in this passion of mine?”


the grief over a feeling of emptiness is sometimes believed to reduce suffering

because it lets the empty subject develop a tolerance to the lack of content

god forbid the poetic narrator was independent of content

that the lack of information, the inability to be given shape by something external

as well as the lack of content, the inability to be meaning-ful

were just accepted as a given?

what if the vessel was just good enough, meaning less?


the vanity of the empty vessel that is the female complaint just won’t suffice

potentially, one’s shape changes, depending on what one consumes

the poetic narrator

why indeed is she so disregulated

about the most normal thing in the world:


(the world is full of information)

in this world, specific vessels are conventionally used for different beverages,

they are standardised,

though obviously the rules about what vessel is used for what content are essentially arbitrary

the problem is not that no beverages exist

nor is the problem that no vessels exist


drinks small portions of decidre from shot glasses

pours her bitter tears into a cup of martini, shaken

drenches her vagina in wine

spits black whiskey into a milk jar at daybreak

takes the bartenders shoe and has him fill it with seamenly nothing




we could say that with her high pitched voice, she is addressing us,

— if you allow me to be beside you —

and that she is asking us whether we can relate to her grief

“have you experienced passion, and if so, how does it feel to you?”

“have you experienced torture, grief over information and content?”

the female poetic narrator must complain, always, for this is her destiny

complain: latin, for: to lament, to criticise, to make a formal accusation to an authority

also: to beat the breast

complaint is always also self-harm

complaining is said to decrease the mental strength of the complaining

also: to emit a mournful sound

expression of grievance or blame

a gendered shriek, high pitched call-out




the formal accusation may be that the meaning produced in the act of seduction or tickling

renders the female narrator a mere vessel for either bitter or sweet flavors and that this categorization of their experience will no longer suffice to provide any fulfillment with meaning, content

we imagine the accusation is brought forward to a male bartender,

who provides the addictive substance

which makes the vessel a container for a specific content,

or the listener, who functions as an involuntary extension of the bartender.

it seems advisable for the female poetic narrator to address not the listener, not the bartender, but her own investement in the act of seduction ? is she seeking to be tickled, in a way that tortures her?

What does her lament generate?

A separation of content and form?

A refusal to consume?

A rejection of meaning?

A refinement of the palet?

After all there is more to sexuality than penetration or consumption,

and other nuances to passion than sweet or bitter;

– such as nutty, smoky, pungent, slightly tangy, and so forth.


the vessel

neither empty nor full

nor fulfilled nor deprived

nor blaming nor self-effacing

but in grief is a suspension of non-containment

there is con tent