155.1: Deborah Bernhardt:: Driftology [Episode Two] & Driftology [Episode Three] & Driftology [Episode Four] 155

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." Andrew Wessels

DRIFTOLOGY [Episode Two]

Continuity errors
in the body’s motion picture.
Despite the cutting, cutting floor,

or due to it: when splicing
the continuous, thus creating
continuity, we punctuate equilibrium,

too rapidly creating variation.
The butterfly effect, if and when
the butterflies are giants.

Little of long red lengths
are affected by air,
but perturbation of wings

causes meet to be moat and oh to be you.
The Great Vowel Shift,
if vowels find coordinates on chaotic,

unsolvable waves. Swing Amplification of Shear Alfvén Waves through
Periodical Density Variations in a Conductive Medium
. Area Author
Has No Idea Either. Vowels shift Romantically, romance

splitting their seams, whaling
through blood-brain barrier reefs
and spliced bone. We surf a channel,

and it leads to a dispersed congregation
of our debris from civilization
. 7,200 packs
of spilled plastic floatees—

turtles, frogs, beavers, and ducks—
a Regatta of Venetian color—
gyrate around the jutting world.

The bathtub-intended whoopsadaisy vortices
will photodegrade, turning into nurdles, jots corrupting
the high seas. Artifacts occurring due to poor image registration

and corny vignetting. The thinner the layer,
the finer the luster! My drishti turns to sea,
and my achromat to the antimetabole.

Oh, satellite signal,
which barely departs,
and never reaches zero!

DRIFTOLOGY [Episode Three]

Oh, lately my departed is a TV series rerun.

In HD Imagist resolution.
Lips blued-out like Laura Palmer’s
when she was big time debris,

wasted to shore in a plastic drop cloth, bound
for the twice-Texas of the North Pacific Gyre

with her eyes blued-shut and lashed down.
Pretty as ice. Local Theme Music Contains
Key Shift. Badalamenti, Composer, Scales
Peaks; Has Been to Minor, and Back.

Violence all the more cartooned in this
sweet resolution, but narrative blood
is a channel programmed on a remote,

red gone primary in cycles. One season,
Twin Peaks’ blood, the next, Sopranos’ blood,
our cautery of spurts, our Land’s End of incarnadine.
Grief Revival: Formal Feeling, or Boring Episode?

Mind your head, thoughts, you seashore junkyard.
I walked the walk to ungreet the one who walked here to mourn
with all America behind her. Local Woman Tamps Down Tone.

DRIFTOLOGY [Episode Four]

A slick ride, a riding on slicks,
a continent, the undiscovered country’s

wild, wild seams. No inverted pyramid-style here.
Enhanced coupling enlightens one caliper of news

in a scrolling treadmill: Shoes Thrown at American Dog |
Double Dare Naughty Monkey Pumps, Auctioned.

In our wide age, my old age, peripheral vision stays put,
a steadfast dynasty of wideness. Wiggling on my right,

wiggling on my left, and a windshieldfull
of frontal foci. When I look at a banquet-wide photo,

I know how to enter: at each measure. Grab the shadow
and the shadow’s cousin. Slant through unburned light

and velutinous paths. But an imprinted beach is a wider challenge—
I know not where to think—I get to the palm of Stevens

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.