Rachel Blau DuPlessis Draft 83: Listings

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Really, I could tell you all about me.
        I am 8 eccentrics gazing at the moon,
                the additive surreal and orientalizing.
This girl, that girl
        and her many misadventures.
                Maybe painted
        from “memory.” Or flung into fragments.
                Is this my book? Wow.

So I became imprudent,
        or even more so.
                Map-like pages sloped downward.
I buried cognates
        in pitch-black narratives.
Have I mentioned
        the purling atoms of unevenness?
                the swerve?

I’m actually my own opposite.
        Or even my own indifference.
                A dump. A Funnel
channeling certain stuff,
        unintelligible at some times,
                untellable at others.

Spelling the letters to make words, they really
        made knots.
                These knots are propelled and snarled
by will itself, and by the cunning
        of syntax—
                a force that meddles
with the relations of things.

So I will list my terms:
        pinhole, intersection, hunger.
                Rubble page uncanny.

And the poem will list its.
        Margins. Vectors.
                A crumbled massy space.

Then we will proceed to negotiation
        since both sides demand
                velocity—I mean veracity—from signs.

Worked with gravity, tension, magnetism, vegetables, water,
granite, sometimes wool

Worked in numbers, numbness, puns and patches,
stones, old plates, and bread

Worked by quire, R’s, ought, heartbeat, sex,

Worked in broth, cut, scat, range,
spit, trill, tongue,
and frayed grosgrain ribbons.

Assembled few relics: Amethyst amulets, Bakelite
truck, C and D, plus lapis and turquoise, wooden spools,
lucky eyes, lucky hands, basil, dried,
and alphabet stencil kits.

Worked with mattresses, neon tubing.
Did Color wheels, wove clay.

Extended into Hyperbolic milk stars, into barley.
Split splints, did curl work with sweetgrass.

Worked with clods and clots, scraps, errors,
particularly the typographic,
but also things irregular and ripped.

Worked in off-cuts from construction, in the plastic lashes
that bind newspapers, in corrugation.
Konk! Worked through the simple earnestness of all this.

Worked in standard domestic carpeting, coffee, coal, cotton,
riverbeds and leather.

The gear box, the hub cap, the yellowing tabloid,
the crinkly foil wrap for some sweet
tossed out into yesterday’s street,

yes; worked in and through these elements—
in fold, in small thin pieces of anything
doubled over,
and piercèd so you may be pierced.

Worked through lead books.

What is 40 years? What is 60?

and the despoiling

and the climbing.

Poured over lead pages.
Of, with and after, and thereupon

intuited situations.

Worked trying to suffer—
I mean, to decipher—
the lead library
in the warehouse of unreadable layers,
where every page
is thicker than a knife.

I was burdened with these tasks,
I was aroused by them.
And that particular mix,
balancing possession
with dispossession,
generates the flash, the wake
in the middle of the night—

in the middle of anything.

                                                                                February 2007-May 2007

Notes to Draft 83: Listings.
Some of the “media” in which people work are cribbed from the handout written by Phyllis Rosenzweig, from “Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera, 1962-1972.” Smithsonian Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 2002. Basket making language from Maine Native Baskets brochure, Maine Center for the Arts, University of Maine at Orono. The lead books are by Anselm Kiefer, an installation at the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, Berlin. More of his lead library was seen at the Grand Palais, Paris, June 2007. Donor drafts along the “line of seven.”

This material is © Rachel Blau DuPlessis
www.alligatorzine.be | © alligator 2007