155.1: Deborah Bernhardt:: Driftology [Episode Two] & Driftology [Episode Three] & Driftology [Episode Four]
7 October 2013
The term driftology refers to the study of drift patterns of flotsam. In these three poems/episodes, Deborah Bernhardt creates a framework of attention in which she chronicles the flotsam that passes by her perspective. This is an attention not of a minute object being rigorously detailed but rather of the ephemeral bits of media, information, advertising, and tangential thoughts that make up our daily experiences. Glimpses of television shows flit by with their momentary feelings of importance, and are likewise nearly immediately forgotten as Twin Peaks gives way to The Sopranos gives way to "Local Woman Tamps Down Tone." And we drift on to the next poem, the next episode, the next moment. As much as I want to think of the words, the lines, the information in these poems as the flotsam, I keep coming to the realization that the drifting I'm studying is my own—my own inability to cease to drift, to find a stable mooring. And these poems tell me that this is not a bad thing, that instead of fearing the drift, I should embrace it: "and my mind is feathers, and then my mind is strewn, and then collected, / and once it is, the particular pleasure is the dodging tool atop, bloodletting // a funnel of light, waving me / lighter than myself."