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Page 10

I am the main character of this poem
(or "I" is), one of those characters
so alive that he leaps right off the page.
In fact, I've already done so -- I flew
right past your left ear – remember
brushing away a gnat that wasn't there
or feeling as if you'd just dodged a bullet?

I'm out "there" now, being alive -- hell,
maybe I'm you -- so there's nothing of me
here now. And even if there were,
my apparent substance is just a stain
on nothing at all.

Merely ink, we say, as if we knew
(even most writers don't know) anything
about ink. It could be blood,
crushed seashells or flowers -- someone,
please, what is ink? How does it remain
capable of flow until released onto paper,
then almost instantly go bone dry,
the last line already beyond blotting?
Is it allergic to air? Absorbed
by this porous stuff?

It's easier to sponge ink
off a glossy blankness.
Beware, poet, of shining too blindingly.
Nothing can adhere to absolute blankness.
It is easier to leap off a glossy page.
This erose, dull wood pulp sucks the life
out of me -- or into it.

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