04 July 2015

The Shelmstress Poems III: Suicide Ditty

Classic Shelmstress! This one is very hard to find, but I was lucky enough that an old friend was looking out for it as well. I first read it in grad school at OSU and have been trying to find it again ever since--its Rodgers and Hart echoes, which occur throughout Shelmstress' work, keep nagging at me till I find them again.

Thank you, Armando, for sending this on.

Suicide Ditty

Hi. It's me again,
Hi, it's not me. Hell-
O, or hi. Hey. Ho.
Nobody writes his
Song for me, heigh-ho:

Who cares? Thirty-odd
Years demonstrating
Explanations and
Exhortations, some

Trying, showing, and
Trying to show what
Ever: things: any
Thing; in this place where
I don't think or know

Or want anything
For myself, in this
Place of my great un-
Knowingness, where I
Drop, with a ripple--

Or not--across your
Great knowledge, where you
Know everything, where
My me-ness is as
A nothingness, where

I sink beneath your
Wisdom like a stone.
You locked me in some
Safety deposit
Box, in the basement

Of a bank, on a
Shelf in your closet,

In some universe,
Where I don't exist.

Calvé Shelmstress, Suicide Ditty, 1977

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