I got a degree (hurray!), made a move for a job (at least I am lucky to get a job), and now I can’t help but think of how a lot of poets live out of a suitcase. And, it’s a little scary.
As I was in the last stretch before my move—I had till Monday, July 14th to finish packing—the sea of boxes and clutter and exhaustion consumed me. I was already worried: will I have to do this again and again?
I always feel vulnerable in the process of upheaval... I know it's normal to get nervous before starting something new. But it's all new: the job, the school, the town, the people, etc.—and for me that brings up self-doubt. I have this fear, what if I can never write again? Sorry to be dramatic. Moving brings out the drama in me, too. I wonder how many poets are out there, thinking these thoughts as they, too, move to another college town.
To calm myself, I started bitching to myself, and then I started bitching to Nin, and then to Whitman as if he were my friend on Facebook. And that perked me up. Just the idea of Whitman on social media made me laugh. I am jealous of Whitman because he didn't have to worry about a classroom of freshman staring at him. And I am jealous of Emily Dickinson, too. She just stayed in one room as long as she liked.
As I was preparing to make my big move, it was a late afternoon, a Sunday, and Walt had just updated his Facebook status, There is no loss of time in the mountains! I sing on this day: happy birthday to you, Fanny Fern. On the off-chance that Walt had his iPhone while he was riding the ferry back to the main island, I sent him an instant message because I worried that no one would ever read my first book. I wanted him to promote me, loud and gregarious man that he is. But I evaded the topic; instead, I started questioning him about what all of this means.
NS: But Walt, what about the loss of identity? I fear that I am really no longer here, in the flesh. If I exist at all, how is it that I no longer know how to splay myself on a grassy knoll and look out at the emptiness?
Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost,
No birth, identity, form—no object of the world (“Continuities”).
NS: But Walt, every time I am on Facebook I feel lost in space and time. It’s as if my senses have been removed—carved out of my being by a motherboard manufactured in some foreign country.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse. (“O Me! O Life!”)
NS: But Walt, I am faithless and foolish and full of myself—there is nothing but emptiness in front of me, behind me, between my fingers, between my ears, my breath.
But then the conversation stopped. Later Walt mentioned how he almost dropped his phone overboard, just as the ferry was approaching the port at the tip of Manhattan. He was on his way to pay back Fanny Fern the five bucks he borrowed from her over a year ago. I think he was telling me how his debts never go unpaid as a way to enlighten me. He also said it’s not good to burn people with a high profile.
High profile. Is that what we're all looking to become?