flotsam // caroline crew

there is 62% chance of forest in the future.

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Well, there is in my fairly immediate future, because the state of Massachusetts in 62% covered in forest and I’ll be living there in just over 3 months. After the forever and maelstrom of MFA apps, its taken me a long while to want to write anything about it in long-form.

Don’t get me wrong, I could not be more psyched to go to UMass (Amherst). A heavy, heavy majority of my favourite poets came out of that program. And James Tate. And Dara Wier. I mean come on:


I’ve known for a while now. Almost three months since the offer, and almost a month since I decided absolutely. I got a job teaching there. I need to find some knowledge to pass on.

There are other important things I will need to find, too. Like, a home and probably a driver’s licence, and some people to hug. These things I am looking forward to. I want a home. I know that everyone does, but I want a home with an expiration date longer than a year. I want to make some kind of life for a while.

Among other things, I am nervous about finding poems again. I’ve been back in academia for a while and it is quite a contagious disease that debilitates time to write creatively. And, when the poems do make time for me / I for them, they seem to be backwards looking. All I can write about is the last earthquake that happened to me (in a good way). So I am hoping, with this anthology that James Tadd Adcox is putting together to finally write the final poem about that. It may involve a little chanting. Definitely light (I have been following etymology), and possibly angels. I’ll let you know when I know.

Oh! Speaking of always writing backwards. Just this week I had two poems in the latest issue of H_NGM_N, right here. These mean a lot to me. First of all, because Nate Pritts (editor of H_NGM_N and wonderful poet) is a such a kind soul and one of the most amazing poets writing at the moment. Secondly, because the two of them straddle either side of my leaving Atlanta, and it is just weird/ interesting seeing them together.

Of course, part of the slowness in crisis/ excitement about Amherst might be that it is going back across the Atlantic but in a very different way and to a very different place. I have peace with that, I want another new life. But I can’t imagine the real distance being collapsed– the distance that means you don’t speak on the phone, you can’t spontaneously visit someone you used to know. The people I put in a box marked ‘Extreme Fondness, But Won’t See Again’ will be on the other end of a phone, or a car ride. And that is very strange. I suppose my head still looks backwards so I can’t expect much more from poems.

Recently, it was Poem In Your Pocket Day. There were lots of quite terrible jokes about it. I carried this in my pocket, as I do many days, because I like lyric that breaks down address and lets me in. I’d I feel forgiven for not looking entirely forward, yet.

Have you forgotten what we were like then
when were were still first rate
and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth

it’s no use worrying about Time
but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves
and turned some sharp corners

the whole pasture looked like our meal
we didn’t need speedometers
we could manage cocktails out of ice and water

I wouldn’t want to be faster
or greener than now if you were with me O you
were the best of all my days

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One thought on “there is 62% chance of forest in the future.

  1. Don’t know you but really enjoyed reading this post. It felt strangely comforting to read, maybe because I’m sort of an expert on the subject of moving somewhere so I’m familiar with the feelings you wrote about. Also loved the poem you chose.

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