Wislawa Szymborska Archive
A bus ride is not the ideal place to fall out of love. But years ago, I was on a bus somewhere between Entebbe and Kampala with two dozen women from across the world when I began to turn my life of partnered bliss on its head.
Poetry, Polish poet Wisława Szymborska contends, is the operative exercise of not knowing.
I think about jokes a lot when I read Wislawa Szymborska. Her poems build the way jokes do, with irony, misdirection, and distraction: setups that leave you completely unprepared for her disorienting final verses. Instead of leading to certainty, they take you somewhere else entirely.
More than ever, I seem to imbibe the news, allow it to become a part of me, choke my obsessive subconscious like invasive kudzu. No wonder then that I feel tempted to write about these events and their consequences.
1. I didn’t start writing lyric essays until I found out I had cancer. The melanoma buried in my right cheek was at first missed, and then misdiagnosed in its severity. Clark’s stage IV, they told me. Likely in my lymph nodes, but they wouldn’t know until my third