Life in Stages

25 September 2013
3:36 pm


T. —

“No perspective is fixed: it’s constantly moving.” – from the Webcast

I’ve just come back from a meeting at the university, have now thrown myself into the ModPo Webcast. Something to listen to, people to learn from, when I least of all feel like learning, listening. I am frustrated with what wells up within me when people break things down, when they tell me what I’m doing wrong. My instinct is: Leave it alone. Stop speaking. I get it. I’ll work on it later, at home, alone, by myself, with no more eyes around me. Just – I get it, I hear you, I’m not being mean or abrasive, I just don’t want this anymore.

Alan asked how the poems are going. I don’t like what I’m writing. It’s your job right now, he said, to write exactly what you want to. So just do it. What if the problem is that I don’t want to write these poems? I just want to live in other people’s words and writing. This life is working itself out in stages. This life. My life.

I haven’t read these poems for this week on the Webcast. I may stop listening and just get some work done. I brought home three books from the library. I want to send you poems from them. I’m going to go do that. I think I would like to write a letter, to sit with some bird noises, to drink this chai, and to put my head into some work.


Mappa Mundi
Luisa A. Igloria

Confronted by a bridge, they are the ones who bring up references to falling water in early modern American architecture. Oh wait. But that’s premised on their ability to recognize that Prairie Style and Textile Style are not random but deliberately constructed marketing descriptions from a retail catalog called Urban Chic. Or perhaps they skim through books like How to Talk About Practically Anything and Sound Smarter Than You Really Are. It may not be apparent but there is a relationship between a culture’s consuming habits and the prevailing literacy rates. In yesterday’s paper there was a story on yet another librarian who lost her job for encouraging a fourth grader to read. The kid read at least three or four books a week and had won every prize at his county library— little plastic cup, pencils from the Dollar Store, bookmarks, a T-shirt donated by the Rotary Club. I’m willing to bet he could explain how The Odyssey is still relevant and as exciting as Nintendo or an RPG. Parents complained that their children couldn’t keep up; they wanted the staff to just draw names out of a hat. Fields of soybean and cotton bordering the road. New construction sites in an area the city council calls the new industrial corridor. Intermittent sweep of taillights— In the dead of night, there’s still never enough light to see by, much less read signs: deer crossing; soft shoulder; road freezes over; sheer drop. The GPS couldn’t save you; it would take more than twenty years to bring you home to yourself.


I wonder what my mappa mundi would look like, what surrounds me around here. Where I am. What does your mappa mundi look like?

Good morning,


One thought on “Life in Stages

  1. A dream mappa mundi would be something that tracks all the places that my other selves have traveled to. Or my other lives! Since the selves can be living in a parallel universe/timeline. Where as if we talk about past lives, then it would be kind of historical, don’t you think?

    Your letter reminds me of something I read today: Zen Pencils illustrates C.P. Cavafy’s Ithaka


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