Day Thirty: “Reflection: On Possibility”

Reflection: On Possibility
-Dan Gualtieri

Say you are a poet. And say
that you are staring at this
constant river of negation,
the flow of bits into a virtual
garbage can somewhere,
always leaving but never gone.
Perhaps you begin to wonder
if the information drained
from this vast online ocean,
this comprehensive crowd-
sourced representation
of the world, is really nothing,
or if it is some kind of shadow,
the imprint of the actual.

And perhaps you attempt
to describe this shadow, trace
its limits, sense the ways
in which it shapes and is
shaped by its substance,
and you wonder if perhaps
this shadow, this possible
world hiding in the discards
of the actual, can be made
to allude to something real
about this undeleted earth
we all inhabit daily.

So you write. And you write
badly sometimes, stupidly,
but you try to take the pieces
of this deleted world and build
a shadow that people can
grasp, a world that is, to one
degree or another, distinct
from the real one, but a place
that feels possible. Because
you believe that there is value
in, for a while, planning for
a wild nacho hunt, haunting
the porch of Charlie Brown’s
red-headed crush, pondering
a world in which stories happened
differently and a man never
existed, searching for the good
life and diverging this way, that
way. And you are grateful
for the opportunity to live
in this world of impossible
shadows, just for a while.


Note: for National Poetry Writing Month, I have written a series of poems named after and inspired by the titles of deleted Wikipedia articles. I am indebted to the @DeletedWiki Twitter bot, which automatically tweets a selection of these titles.


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