sometimes i pick something up and it snags, so i pick at it. so it pricks me (picks me) then dissolve-sticks like a triaminic thin strip, aftertaste mixing in with my own spit. so i guess this is just how my mouth tastes now, for now, until i swallow. which is i guess like memory: cherry-fade noticing.
in october, marie ruefle clicked and loop-looped, somersaulting her summer salt. in madness rack and honey she writes, “the only purpose of this lecture, this letter, my only intent, goal, object, desire” — tossing word after frantic word to plug up the current, to tread in the middle of her own sentence — “is to waste time.”
she quotes john ashberry: “you can’t really use this wasted time. you have to have it wasted.”
but of course, even nothing drifts. eventually, it wafts into something.
ruefle quoting again, this time mary oppen: “[heidegger] allies boredom very closely with that moment of awe in which one’s mind begins to reach beyond.”
“and that is a poetry moment, in which a poem might well have been written.”
time’s compost: the ideal environment for spontaneous germination.
into, for example, metaphor, “an exchange of energy between two things” which will “arise and subside like any event.” a wastebud that poetry tries to petrify even as it instantaneously collapses, even as energy keeps bustling through.
other than the entire point of writing this column being to bottle used air, i wasted october by:
-reading rilke in the german, slamming into already curt boundaries atrophied from disuse, accidentally learning that mountains and recovery are siblings (Bergen and bergen). reading in just-english suddenly feeling like walking a floor just after a treadmill, the ground-page slipping under my feet-eyes.
-rewatching just the end of stage fright, when jenny slate sock-pivots in the pink light of her parents’ jukebox, in an outfit i hope is at least partially borrowed from their closet. she sings along to “ghost town” in the house she says is filled with ghosts, crocheted blanket turned to wings in her window silhouette. when the song ends, her exhale, her tired ringlets, let at least one spirit go.
crywatching her lonely dance, her couldn’t-have-known, her “goodness ... coming” (kim addonizio). (earlier in the special she asks her sisters, “do you feel lucky in love?” because she, divorced, doesn’t. the news just before this special came out: she’s in love again.)
rewatching, recrying, released into renewed grief, as in newed-again, nude again. as in, not stuck. (a fear of which is probably why my word association sprints and ducks). my cry for couldn’t-have-knowns turns into one for newness always already arriving. my own cry is the proof. proof of old absences, sure, but also new ways of still loving them.
marie again: “the wasting of time is the most personal, most private, most intimate” — again with her word stuffing (to my word sprinting) — “form of conversation with oneself, as well as another.” in the latter clause, she is referring to letter-writing. so, most importantly:
- writing another letter to lee and rewatching “handsome devil” two and a half times just to text him about it. texting nathan, josh, leah-and-joia. kate nicole nadia. xinhe and brendan. i wrote seventeen emails to nivi alone. what waste. what lucky excess.
during a reading at concordia last year, eileen myles said that if poems are to be places, and real ones, then they need waste. they need litter and rhythm so that cherry nothing bobs up, gleams through.
emilie kneifel is your secret admirer. find 'em at emiliekneifel.com. this month, em recommends: covering your zinc spots with fruit stickers.