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Page 120

"But we can't help what we are."
"The moving finger having writ...".
Bullshit. "But what if you're born
blind...?" Why did you decide
to be born blind? "That's cruel."
It's what I remember. I remember --
increasingly -- many lifetimes, each full
of decisions that always came home to roost,
sometimes a second, sometimes lifetimes later.

"Who could possibly decide to be born blind?"
Someone who'd watched too many reality TV shows.
Someone who had a blind brother who got
all the attention. Someone who saw
horrible things and wished never to see
again (but I already said that about reality TV).
Someone feeling degraded, who thought "THIS
will show them!" Someone who tortured and blinded
others. Someone who made people watch
as he tortured their loved ones. (Someone who thinks
the words "loved ones" are mortuary jargon.)
Someone who, loving deeply a blind parent or child
or lover who died, has ever since tried to keep that person
alive by being blind. Or just "Blind -- that
would be an interesting thing to be!" or "Wow!
I'm blind!" or "Let there be no light!" A decision
is an easy thing to make. It's what we do.

"You remember other lifetimes?" Some of them
are closer to me than my most recent childhood.
"Tell me about them." Why? They're just lifetimes.
Find your own. "To prove they're real."
Get a life. "Why don't I remember mine,
if they're there?" If they're where? And
why don't you remember your early childhood?
"Why don't I?" Decisions, decisions. Did you
eat supper a year ago? "Yes." What did you eat?
Prove to me a year ago was real. "The newspapers...".
Yes, we are such as can be made real by newspapers.

["What makes YOU so much smarter than me?"
It's my poem. In your poem, YOU get to know
all the answers. You get to prate, endlessly, that
"we all die alone forever" and other nonsense, and I
don't get to say a word. I fall over backwards like
a comic book straight man, nothing left of me
in the frame but parallel motion lines slanting
downwards and a cloud of dust.]

Note: The comic-strip delivery of a punchline, leaving the recipient bowled over with lines tracing the direction of his/her fall seems to have largely vanished from our sometimes-funny pages. Find some old "Mutt & Jeff" comics.

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