Saturday, May 7, 2016

Home again, and thankful for no place to go, no part to play.

The poodle is clinking down the stairs; black coffee is steaming in my cup. I have been working with words intensely for the past two days, and the poems I offered to the students--poems by Whitman, Atwood, Joudah, Nivyabandi--are still sifting through my mind, but quietly now.

The theme of many of these conversations was place . . . places we have left or cannot leave, places that others have left, places that we have forced others to leave, place as a construct of time, of geography, of morality, of body.

In her poem "Cell," Margaret Atwood writes:
              The lab technician

says, [The cancer cell] has forgotten
how to die. But why remember? All it wants is more
amnesia. More life, and more abundantly. To take
more. To eat more. To replicate itself. To keep on
doing those things forever. Such desires
are not unknown. Look in the mirror.
It clings with me, this sense of devouring that is also an element of devotion and self. "We'll eat you up, we love you so!" as Maurice Sendak puts it. I didn't think to quote Sendak in class, but now I wish I had. Not that it matters: the students understood anyway.

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