Marie Ponsot, “Bliss and Grief”

No one, I mutter, No one is.

I tried to prove myself a few minutes ago, as if I hadn’t accomplished anything today or recently or ever. I rambled and forced jokes and tried too hard to be accepted. Was I taken over by a ghost?

Are ghosts made of insecurities? If so, they’re really lame–I mean, they should cause a scare, make someone go AAAAA. They should be able to do cool stuff like make a room cry blood or fracture glass with their own reflection. My dumb ghost is a bunch of stupid memories that make me act badly. It lacks power probably because I lack power. No one is, No one is here:

Bliss and Grief (from
Marie Ponsot

No one
is here
right now.

Ponsot titles her poem “Bliss and Grief,” both of which seem far beyond my petty concerns. I guess you could say bliss and grief each create a sensation where the self for a time is lost and hard to find. Immense sadness has made me feel disembodied on more than one occasion. If I’ve come close to an all-consuming happiness, I believe I was absorbed in a role, like a character from a movie. No one is here right now comes from trying to talk to oneself—it isn’t just said to others asking how we are.

Still, there are no right answers regarding interpretation. Maybe, at best, better ones. And what really matters is how a poem speaks to you. The original “speak between” of interpretation is a higher priority than some mystical truth which makes for beautiful prose but proves to be little use in life.

So I find myself staring at the form of this thing. It’s like two mounds of words jammed next to each other for the sake of a larger mound. “No is right” is one half, “one here now” the other. There’s some sort of self, a “one here now,” but it’s absorbed in negation. Strictly speaking, it isn’t exactly absorbed, as it lets “no is right” have equal height and breadth.

I imagine “bliss” would be an end to second-guessing myself, but now I’m looking at the literal shape words take. There is no end to second-guessing, as matters great and small make can cause one to feel lost. It’s weird to think it natural to not be yourself, but it seems to be perfectly natural, the only response to overwhelming events or a world which insists the consistent practice of a public face.

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