Heir Apparent

Issue #20: February 2014

from Interstices | Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Ledger 1:


I dismantled it.

Mounted it and then dismantled it

but its uncanniness,

its Nessie in Loch Ness-ness

lurks and snuffles and sways.

So—once again.

Wrapped and unwrapped,

floated and dried—

unruly it. I took it up

(I took it on), and twisted it

to find—to make—

its seams and splits.

Rapt and ripped.

Made and mined,

brooded and unbound.

The grains of sand,

uncountable mysteries

of former shells,

the layers of misty color

over the nose of the moon—

I tried to honor these

endless metamorphoses.

The poem being stoppage

in a flow of dynamism—

Does one want to take

that way as path?

Blockage? fixity?

Prefer each poem’s

daunting, empathetic form.

Its ways of exceeding itself

and of losing itself

in strings of letters,

split strata of ur-URLs.

The universe red-shifts to hypertext.

A set of clicks across the umpty

black and brackish








set of sounds, a few more marks

and all gets made again. But differently.

It will cough its spute-y bit of phlegm

reach for one of a hundred me-pty

filed and wrotten

helpless notebooks,

a.k.a. not-books,

and unbegin


Made and unmade,

mantled and dismantled.

“The word ‘last,’

used in describing the poem

in the written instructions,

looks, some days or in certain

slants of light,

very much like ‘lost.’”

It has been “finished”

but has barely begun.

It has been collected

but then has disappeared.

Lost and found and lost again.

It re-emerges in the little split,

in in-between.

And it has blown

to the ten fingered winds

(they’d be “of time”)

up through the reddening changing

changeling leaves

as they shimmer before they fall.

This is marked lento

but also prestissimo.


Do you read me?

Letter 1:

Dear X—

Well, just like that. Abrupt.

It’s a letter to you, right now, certainly,

though not without pre-history.

A story webbing among packets of letters,

held with rusty paper clips,

found in random files.

A territory of

pre-quels. Priors.

Plot is sticking out all over and

yet these events aren’t linked

causally. Things happen, one

adjusts—and keeps talking

in pulses of feeling

that propel correspondences

whenever one responds “Dear X.”

“The immense text of the world

is born from these few

non-hierarchical marks,

as equal as the text is infinite.”

Maybe I’m simply saluting a letter.

Or marking “X” as if I could

not pen my name.

In fact, all letters

will finally arrive at “X”

whether by obliteration or by various

divergences of path.

Seek at once to enter into

the vast universe

and into intimate smallness.

This is enough work

to go around,

enough to go on.

There is no middle ground.

Dear X— no middle ground,

they say,

but that’s OK.

I know you’ve shown a

complex composite desire

for the doubled, the both:

It’s clear you’ve always meant

both crossed out

and crossroads,

both erasure

and choices of direction.

Find: “Seek at once.”

Word has finished searching the document.

The search item was not found.

Still I’d like to think

that we are on

the same page.

Ledger 14:

My eyes close over the keyboard,

in hypnogogic grayness,

as if writing were sleeping

or other semi-conscious state

and I could speak from the site

as if I were right inside it,

instead of always traveling to it and

Zeno-like, dividing the difference.

What are the tasks at hand?

Oddball mosh of residues

vagrant, flagrant

fragments, with clear haunting.

Rope is twined stringently

by twisting cordage

out of threads of matter.

And then a winch of pressure has to pull.

After? Entanglement, entanglement.

A jerk or pull will maybe open it.

Or perhaps tie it further, harder,

impossible to break the swollen, tight-bolt knot.

Then one unwinding strand of light

dropped from the sky

plumb down onto you

in and through the quiet night.

It could be the string

of a gigantic instrument

whose resonance involves

a tightening spiral.

What’s the twist? In your face

are tangled voices of the dead—

you never asked them enough questions,

or listened enough to the answers, either.

Letter 15:

Dear E—

Splash up

(from the lake

where you have sunk).

Ensconce right there

sitting in the chair.

You are full

to the brim with cancer,

certainly you will die

but you waited up for me,

leathery brown and tidy,

just like a mummy,

with your feet encased

in squirrel slippers

made of road kill.


Flitch these fusty quarter-sawn

tinder-logs of the past,

for the present, for the future,

wet as they are, soaked to the brink.

Declare them all operable!

Pile them up!

Can the sphinx poem be written?

Well, this is it.

So you aren’t dead after all?

Oh, yes, you are!

What an interesting debate.

If rueful on both sides.

And haven’t the slightest notion what there was

actually inside you and have lost

all ways of finding


“O music of these chthonic forces”

raise yourself into all the active orifices!

Ledger 15:

One page of one book

is clear, but I can’t read it

as it’s German with words like

water white green and other words

that look like

“things wandering”

but are

Dinge verandern

which I think is the otherness of things.

Makes sense to me, but still

even wrong readings of

otherness and wandering

have not so


similarities in the Blick.


I only want to please myself.

To make degenerate art.

(if Isaac had been a girl—

he would have been Iphigenia?

But she’s the one was killed.

It’s what we mean by toll.)





girls trying

to learn to read


These intersections are made by one of several tools,

though all the tools seem harsh, incompetent,

for the tasks they have to do.

And this does, too.

I did not want aloof

vantage, small figures, dense mass

for my sense of scale

I wanted

pixel by pixel


detailed individuals

even if collapsed

into a botched tracking shot,

I wanted them each

being endearing selves.

And intransigent.

O thin watery clouds of twilight!

O the seeping of snow

the slow


peeling crystals

layered down to dirty slush pack

under new snow

leaking water from the side

as run-off,

ruisseaux, oh!

O education and liberation

so desirable for the wanderers, the exiles,

and the excluded!

O staggering women!

You’ll never ever again be exactly the same.

Letter 16:

Dear M—

Will you walk out with me,

cross north and hike through

that mountain terrain we have both

so longed to see?

Day by day, haiku and haibun,

the oaks and pines

will shake their snowy folds,

and mounds of rime

will fall on the passers-by

as the intermittent winds strike them.

We will verify

place names and road signs

as to how they fit our

volatile moods.

Frozen Falling Water.

Snow Shoe Trail.

Caution: Stress regimes

in the lithosphere.

This trip is unfixed,

in its complex variables,

harmonic maps and

immersive symmetries.

After a few days of “everything possible”

(You have a choice

of paper or

hard cards;

you have found a faux-ceramic vessel

lined with 100 amusing questions),

we return to “nothing is possible.”

(Erasure becomes a metaphysical problem

of mourning for what

you don’t even know

once had existed.)

Then we strike a balance

as if striking a brass gong.

Bong. Yes. Bong.

Awe and dissatisfaction

reverberate with

magnanimous overtones

and bind us individually

to our separate, sonorous bodies

and to our marrow-laden bones.