Reading Derrida in Grad School

Sean Porterfield

My professor advises me,
while reading Derrida,
“Do not panic,” as subordinate clause
after subordinate clause
piles on top of each previous in random order
and predicates are subsumed
by other predicates, and it becomes not only
difficult, but impossible to tell if a word is
a synonym of another item, previously used, or,

because there had been no prior qualification
of terms, at least, not as far as one may tell, perhaps

there is no relationship between the objects in question

at all, “because he does it all on purpose, and
that’s the point.” I simply look at her
and marvel,
thinking that the real genius of Derrida
and what likely sent him laughing
into his grave
is that he has tricked us all
into mistaking his laziness
for our own stupidity, and the real point
of Derrida, the true encounter with
sublime mastery, leads a young
writer to believe that, really,
clarity is, at best, unnecessary,
and, at the heart of it,
revision, in itself, is
Subsequently, and silently,
knowing that any sign of resistance
to Derrida

my professor will perceive as
the mark of a neophyte,
I yearn for the day when, upon the
submission of my own writing, by myself,
or otherwise, to my professor, or
some other outlet of difference,
for publication in a magazine, perhaps,
or for some more trivial matter,
I might receive the thing again, and,
having obfuscated many details,
contrived and
deconstructed some new lexicon
of which nobody aside from me knows a vowel, and
combined words from many different languages,
for the plain, simple, and dual motivation that, one,
I am proficient in each of them,
and, two, a single language clearly won’t suit the purpose,
so upon hearing a word or two of consolation from an editor,

who, in his distraction,
or hers, as I understand editors to exist who
are of both sexes and many genders, as one understands there to be,

in all professions, similar and unlike, may in specific reference
to my letter, name it too poor, too complicated, too obscure,
not clear enough, too long, and all the rest,
say, “Pah! You Plebeian. That’s the point.

Sean Porterfield is an English teacher and graduate student who lives in Orlando, Florida. He writes poems at night when the moon is full and while eating vegetable pizza. Sometimes he drinks wine. But never merlot.