Friday, April 29, 2011

National Poetry Month - Day 29: Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge



Walking in an arroyo, I mistake a rock in the distance for a person, which on approach emptied of him, denser than a mirage.

I fear an object can be negated by thinking, as it remains in sight.

Though I say, "It's basalt shaped like a man," his menace is seamless.

Walking, trying to assimilate speaking into breathing, as into shadow, cool cut in light suddenly all over the place, like honey.

The hiker is tall with spiky, white hair cropped after polling readers of her Web page on style options.

Now, I frame feeling in a story for them, intransigent, no natural breaks, for example, "blinded by tears," "can't express my helplessness."

I use the Web, and words leave no trace, like a bird in the sky.

The bird, time, is an internal sense, auto-affection, but their sentiment creates auto-affection more pure.

Monkeygirl links a photo of us looking in my bathroom mirror to a site about mirrors of Web personalities, "Something's going on here!"

I wrote, "There are things going on more personal than I usually log in."

"Why don't I put them somewhere private, a Word.doc or paper diary?"

Means are involved.

The chorus is the people who are moved.


Don't assume emotions are engaged in this.

You're distracted by the day, rudeness, a package not sent, and your emotion is passed onto a screen.

Readers take care of it.

That night, we stoked gossip with identical entries about losing a dog during fireworks, then finding him under a bench at a restaurant known for sixties decor.

One by one, Web visitors copied this onto their own sites, as though they'd lost a dog, too.

Others suspected code "just for cool kids."

I've no distance from the hearsay.

It's a broader situation in which protagonist belongs to narrative, the way an outcome may be full or empty.

One finds a sweet spot, reversal.

The illusion of a person in a wash doesn't create emptiness when I recognize a rock, at the same time feeling its presence, a cut, and my response extend, like a stain.

Then, there's the animate problem of a rock moving from one side of the trail to the other, at night.

Will it subject itself to strange, internal obligation it feels, beyond its level?


I had health problems and went to bed.

The doctor allowed my dog, a small poodle, to sleep with me.

Guido and his friend put camp beds in the hall.

My room felt drab, so I taped pictures of nieces and nephews on my bathroom mirror and became addicted to bidding on-line for antiques.

I found an Aubusson rug the right size, just trees, but Guido said it was a fragment, nothing to focus on.

Veined hands with blue nails apportioned eggs on Georgian silver he set formally.

Objects were symbols, not belonging to experience, the way a speaker is supposed to, re: distinctions between concrete and figurative, the vase empty or full, like conversation.

When my strength improved, I wanted my own space.

I embarrassed him by talking and gesturing with no one there.

I spoke to someone with whom I needed to correct things I'd said and done.

Collecting's not hearsay; you're not part of the narrative, the way friends became attached to my dog, carrying it, begging kisses.

How did that person get inside, to whom I exclaim, bargain, whom I initially isolate in my experience of a neighbor I meet, being a "stranger"?


Is the person not existing, when I mistake a calm, his emptiness of entity, mirage, moon in water?

Analyze, using any neighbor.

When communication's difficult, think of honey, hard with no natural breaks, or all over the place.

You wish to communicate, the way light scatters inside you, an expanding zone revealed in the distance by constellations of objects of the wish.

I recognize your shadow ahead as sound in the mind of the listener, like knowledge revealed by a visitor in my dream.

Considering splits between sight and fear on the trail, front and back of surfaces, between missing you (bathos, synthesis) and one with whom I grapple, who seems to pull strings and elicit feelings not mine:

Dream total epidermal contact with the puppeteer, open as virtual.

Communication (transmission) dissipates, like an expanse of sky confirmed by emptiness.

It passes through the beam of her emotion refracted all over, evoking alienations of beauty on sociality.

Each time she begins is thought, a move.

Momentum with no beginning takes the form of communication in groups, except during his drive cross-country to live with her.

"Oh yeah, it's bad," she writes back. "I'm used to being able to check in, Webcam, Flighttracker, e-mail."

"Now there's nothing, except the phone at night; well, it seems like nothing."

from Nest (Kelsey St. Press, 2003)

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