Issue 30: Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Preface to an anti-Psalm


We are marked by traces, saturated in our own striations

one cell to another cell. Skin. We share our bacteria.


The fact of them! of “everything”! of “mythologies”!

microbes! the fact that evanescence exists.

That we can discuss “tone.” The ways of other people  

clumped! different! odd, even.

The fact “we” build and make.

This does not seek to be poetic, just true.


And don’t give me that obsessive punctilious framework

         that has us constantly reassuring The Patriarch

                             “No, we haven’t turned sway, turned away,

                             no way,

                                       honestly, not.”


Au bout des levres

we wing this, sing this


somg. Psalmg. psoulfully                                              

eyes cast down

“We have always adored your

brilliance.” “or Power.” “Why would we

turn away?”


see below


It seems we are a particular form

         including dark matter, electrical hum,

         clitoral charge, hmmmHrrrr

soon permanently absorbed

         in further dark; transfixed by matters

         definitive to us, but broadly non-negotiable:

         sheer matter, physics piecing together our responses

         to questions that sometimes

         are too exorbitant to articulate, but sometimes

we do examine what is that

                             What” with which we bargained.


We bargained with that! Maybe not.

That Patriarch was too self-important

to bother with.


Recent books by Rachel Blau DuPlessis are Selected Poems 1980-2020 from CHAX Press, 2022 and A Long Essay on the Long Poem from University of Alabama Press, 2023. These are now joined by the collage poem Life in Handkerchiefs (Materialist Press, 2023). Forthcoming are  Daykeeping (Selva Oscura, 2023), meditating some events of 2020 and Eurydics (Shearsman 2024?), investigating poetics, some literary history, and myth.

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