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Page 229

We are taught that Heaven and Hell are absolutes –
a fancy way to protest too much their reality –
but there are numberless gradients. We can be more or less
in Hell – there being no bottom – as we can be more or less
dead, more or less in love with immortality as a chance
to play, more or less tolerant of silence, of the blank page,
the empty canvas, eager to fill them up –
but not desperate to do so, amused by the rainbow play
of possibilities as radiant blankness passes through
the crystal spectrum of awareness.

Believing yourself mortal is more than half way to dead.
And if that consoles you, you are yet deader. The living
seek out the living. Those alive enough, by their mere
presence, quicken the dead, and if the very alive
can confront the limpness, then grief, then terror,
then sideways smirking, then rage of the newly revived dead,
their unabated life will return the dead through boredom,
gingerly tiptoe them into the shallow end of hope, cheerfulness –
eventually to dolphin-plunging, eagle-soaring reaches of limitless play.

I don't know if I'm alive enough to make a crabby baby laugh,
much less revive a corpse, animate a catatonic or penetrate
the almost solid miasma of spirit surrounding most psychiatrists,
but gladly I tell you (in case you need to hear it) that you are
you and have always been you, and that the blankness
of the prospect of immortality (and, indeed, of you, who are
no thing) is, like the blankness of the page (not this one,
but the next one – now, as I write) -- is only as empty
as you are unable (that is, unwilling) to create.

(You are no laughing matter – no matter at all,
but creation is a joy. I laugh all the way to the blank.)]

If unable is unwilling, your deadness (mine, too)
is the accumulation of regretted creations. Long ago
the joy of creation sufficed and suffused. What made us doubt it,
made us think each creation had to help, be of use?
What persuaded us we had failed to help?
Why did we feel compelled to attack those we'd failed
to help with our creations? (To prove to ourselves that
it was all their fault?) And yet, having become monsters
(still creating), we tried once more to help others
by becoming dead. If we can delineate that twisting primrose
(and psycho) path, we can trace it all the way back
to the joy of creating, where a blank page greets us

Note: Stanza 4, "laugh all the way to the blank", puns "I cried all the way to the bank" (a phrase used to imply that the speaker doesn't give a damn about anything but the money, however ill-gotten, was not really saddened, since he got rich off whatever is supposed to be making him cry).

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