Jenni B. Baker

If all new believers have to go through that trial in the desert. If I would have been better off if I had gone back. If it was all in my head. If just in the end your mistake was you just thought more people were like you than really are. If maybe that was why I was almost paralyzed with confusion. If the fact that I did so well has something to do with the ignorance that I had at that time. If the nature of this kind of act is that you have to do it not expecting anything back. If the thing that makes it so tough is the fact that you’re trying to get something back from it. If there isn’t a chemical component behind it because I now have a hard time doing it. If there’s a message in that. If this was a brilliant plan to drive us slowly insane. If today’s the day. If we don’t attach different meanings to the word. If you could read this. If you could help me. If you feel a little bit like Sisyphus with the rock at the bottom. If you just decided that it would be best if you slipped away forever. If you would be saying this and explaining this in these terms if you yourself were falling in love right now.

Source: Complete This American Life transcripts, phrases beginning with “I wonder if.”


Why a man in his 50s is not established somewhere. Why all the ways I’ve tried to kill myself haven’t worked. Why I bother with this exercise. Why I don’t want to find out what’s causing this pain. Why I don’t make good business these days. Why no one sells anesthetic to fat people for a diet. Why other people got mothers. Why that happened to her. Why.

Source: Complete This American Life transcripts, phrases beginning with “I wonder why.”

Jenni B. Baker is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Found Poetry Review. Her poetry – mostly found, some not — appears or is forthcoming in more than three dozen literary journals, including DIAGRAM, Washington Square, Lunch Ticket, BOAAT, Quarterly West, Nashville Review and Swarm. Her Oulipo-generated chapbook, Comings/Goings, was released by Dancing Girl Press in 2015. In her current project, Erasing Infinite, she creates poetry from David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, one page at a time. She is currently collaborating with composer Patrick Greene on a classical song cycle based on the Erasing Infinite series, set to debut in Chicago in 2016.