In the house in which I live, which is too big for me, I've spread papers over too many surfaces and in too many rooms: poems and pieces of poems and title pages and rough drafts and section titles and then, just blank pages. Some of the blank pages are turquoise, and I have no idea where they came from. It's far too easy to do this -- spread everything out -- when open spaces beckon. In the bedroom this morning I attempted to consolidate and tidy. I moved the many piles into fewer and larger piles. I threw out. I boxed-up. (Better than throwing-up and boxing-out.) Arranged and rearranged. Folded. Put in storage. Put inside of. Into the kitchen I carried more bags of food and put things in cupboards and the refrigerator and then began to take other things out because there was stew to be made. It's constant, isn't it, this shuffling of the implements of our lives. In my camping days one of the things I found so enchanting was the fact of so few possessions for a week or two, just enough to fit in the car along with fellow humans. How little we needed & how much we thrived with the little we had. A friend once told me to get rid of half of my possessions. I've pondered this. I am not a hoarder. But still the detritus accumulates and fluffs itself.
There are more boxes of more things in the other house and I've successfully pretty much ignored all of them for nearly three years now. Today I needed a poem for this manuscript I'm working on, something I wrote in 1998, and realized that it's in a box 19 miles away, or possibly on the hard drive of a computer in pieces in the basement, also 19 miles away. It was published in a now-defunct magazine called Heliotrope, the paper copy of which I thought I had in a box in this house but I was wrong.
I am going to scream now.