Eleven More Poems for Poetry Month
Thought: "71 poems. One for each year of my life."
A minute later: "Wait."
On Sibling Day, I wrote my brother, "Happy Sibling Day. What should I write a poem about?" And he wrote, "That time you showed me The Exorcist in Philadelphia."
When my brother was 12, he visited me in Philadelphia. I was 28. We walked around the city, and he picked up every rubber band he saw. I read to him from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. One night a fire alarm went off in the building that was so loud I was frightened, but he slept through it while I went down to the lobby to reset the alarm. I was wearing the bumblebee boxer shorts I sometimes slept in, and a man about my age gave me a surprised look when he came in the building. I realized later that all my hair was sticking up. My brother drew a cartoon of this when I told him about it the next day. One night we watched The Exorcist, and then he had to stand outside the bathroom door while I peed. Cats were yowling in the alley.
I don't know what to say about haunting anymore. I've moved too often and maybe lost the ghosts. The Haunting of American Literature is a class I once taught. The return of the repressed. The sins of the fathers. This year, we are still there, in the 19th century, having figured nothing out. Haunted, I guess. But some word more visceral than that. Abjection, the grotesque. But in real life, not literature.
Questions of volition become central at this time. I'm thinking of toddlers now, and stay-at-home mothering.
"an energetic through-line"
Which of my boyfriends would not sit with their backs to the door and why. Because of Malcolm X. Or because that's what you do if you're a warrior type.
An email from "Move Loot":
Half-moon bookcase: $50
Gunmetal Table: $75
High-Society Dining Set: $1800
Butter Bean End Table: $75
Elias says, "Mama has blue eyes, Elias has brown eyes, Dada has brown eyes. Mama has brown hair, Elias has brown hair, Dada has blackish hair. Mama has pink eyes, Elias has blue eyes. Mama has a black pagina."
"Urgent journey toward an important message": Sometimes reading a poem can make a person feel less alone in her own head, as when I read James Schuyler on the subway in New York. The brain has an amazing amount of plasticity is what I would tell a depressed person now. I'll tell it to myself.
The ghost is sleeping.