Maybe I Was Here All Along

Morning desk space

Morning desk space

22 September 2013
10:19 am

T. —

It is one of my first Sunday mornings without St. Giles again. I am no longer required every week. What I’ve done already this morning is almost as much as I did during the whole day yesterday (and that’s not to say I did nothing yesterday — I actually did quite a lot).

But I’ve written the essay for ModPo (title: The Greatest Pub Crawl Ever), I’ve listened to the Rae Armantrout, which means I’m halfway done with week 1, and also halfway done with week 2. I’ve just left out all of the Whitmanian stuff, including Whitman himself. But I’ll have a catch-up session this week where I listen to all of the Whitman-related poets in succession.

I’m reviewing an essay for work, I’m about to make some tea and have some breakfast. We have friends coming over for lunch, so I have to shower, start the onion soup, clean up things a bit. But yesterday I wrote a letter, called my mom, my brother, and Sarah in Philly. I read a shit-ton of poetry and listened to ModPo. I did 5 hours of tutoring work. I washed dishes. I apologized for being grumpy. I found a few new poets. I found new books for my thesis. Julia Bloch! She is the Lead TA for ModPo, and she also wrote “Letters to Kelly Clarkson,” a collection of prose poetry letters!! Which I need for my thesis! I am torn between ordering them immediately and reading them first, or writing her an email to try to make a connection.

I also discovered Rachel Blau DuPlessis when I listened to one of the videos on Rae Armantrout. This is what regular internet doesn’t always do: it doesn’t always help you to find things sideways, unless you are vigilant. In a bookstore, I love looking at displays to see which books are next to the books I love. On the internet, things can get too categorized, unless you remember to look up the bio of the random person who spoke once about a poem, and then read a selection of their book. And then read articles and remember names, and recognize the names when they come back up again in another context (it’s only because my mom was making fun of me for reading a book of letters to Kelly Clarkson that I even remember who Julia Bloch is! Otherwise, I may not have recognized her name this morning when I saw it, randomly surfing through the ModPo site). These connections. These are what life is.

came a ghost letter, typed, but not with ribbon,
so only the pressure of letters
was left, white incised, take a look, it’s in
long paragraphs, but the sheet solid blankness;
and beyond “hard to read,” erasing its palpability,
and beyond the fact
it is impossible to read at such length
inside a dream is
seeing a glimpse of what forever
could be of
words, but was in fact words never.
Yet even losing it as I skimmed
and the insult of loss shadowing
my ebbing tries, still I looked forward then
now to decipher this token of care, wanted
to read it, meaning to me
so much that it had come thru the mail,
a corresponding letter, but without black letters on it,
so black to blank it went unrolling back,
with the
“in” from invisible,
the deeper double “in” and “in” from finding
and made a dissolve.

Thus the message was lost, yet
an atmosphere enveloped this space from now to not
from not to knot and non- and back and forth
to now
in which the letter opened and declared
(direction indeterminate)
what it was, and what it was to be.

From Drafts 1 – 38 by Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Thank God the University library has books by Rachel Blau DuPlessis. After reading these selections, I really have to read them.

Stepping into
“inevitability,” journey that is “the binding.”
“I have been wading a very long river”
sloshing across waywardly
trying not to go too quickly.

The point is – not to question what you are given;
The knife is, you can’t help it.

From Drafts 1 – 38 by Rachel Blau DuPlessis


Poetry seeps a little line, wayward, tumbles over the bumps around
the rocks, one did not think to call this weeping;
the rocks upon which we were sleeping;
inside the crack, leverage of detail
imagines situations, not that they
never did or never could
for they did come from somewhere, but where?
Enormousness of universe, and enormity of what has happened
in our milky corner
of it, of it
“unraveling voice.”

A sense of being
a small seam split inside a little existence
From Drafts 1 – 38 by Rachel Blau DuPlessis


Then, there was also this other poet, Ali Shapiro, whose poetry I found yesterday after surfing around on Tumblr. I have about 8 tabs open with some of her poems, and when I heard her reading a few of them it was a mind-blown moment of “What the hell is this amazingness? Can people really write like this? Can write like this? What the fuck is happening right now?”

I promise I’ll love you forever
if you please just don’t make me
start now, in the brief dumb calm
of the just-fine, with this cowgirl pressing
her big stone-washed hips into mine. I want to take her home
but to someone else’s home, or perhaps just send her home
with someone else. What I mean is, I’m tired
of everything gorgeous. Of the burden
of burning. Of wondering
when. What I mean is, on some nights I miss you so much
that I never want to see you again.

– from If I Leave You Then Maybe I Won’t Have to Miss You So Much by Ali Shapiro

So simple. And yet the cadence is so beautiful. The weight of the words is so beautiful.


The Meaning of Leaving 
Ali Shapiro

Maybe it was there
all along, in our shirtsleeves,
on the heavy trees, every time we turned
left-as in the opposite
of right, which is also
wrong, as in the mistakes
I’m bound to keep making as long
as I long. I still love you but I can’t
stay still, that’s why I’m bound
for the coast in the old
truck blazoned with rust, crest
of snow, crust of salt, the bed
that was our bed, you
in the rearview for hundreds
then thousands of miles-you
the cornfield, you the semi, you
the sirens pulling me over
and over. I’ve got my eyes
on the road’s gray throat, its soft
shoulder, its sign that says
yield. Maybe I was here
all along, driving away in the driving
rain, in the space between left
meaning remaining and left
meaning already gone.


You can listen to her poems here.

It’s only 10:30 in the morning and already I’m going crazy at how much talent is in the world.

“Given all this, there is nothing but this to say.
                           The work has exceeded its original memory.”
– From Drafts 1 – 38 by Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Good morning,


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