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Page 141

Let's fight a duel: "Gentlemen, choose your
metaphors!" I can fight as well with either.
You choose first. Take "dream," for example --
to dream while awake: metaphor of sanity or insanity?

But any insanity is simply an exaggerated,
overly specialized area of sanity. The madman dreams
too well, but not wisely. Thesis, antithesis,
synthesis -- good grief! Have I become Hegel?

I'd rather be Bagel, which, as a poem's ink
distracts from the page's blankness,
with its buttery eggy substance makes us forget
that it is a mobile hole. How odd --
we nosh on the stuff that, by surrounding
nothing, creates a hole, nosh until the stuff
is gone (descended into the hole our own
substance surrounds -- partly goes through us
to other holes, partly becomes part of the substance
that holds our hole intact), and all that's left

of the bagel is the hole, now become the whole
bagel, the whole hole, that is, nothing at all,
not even a hole. The hole is a limited thing,
with a function -- to hold coffee, to let light pass through
or other food. The bagel's hole is a handle,
a means to hold the bagel while we consume it,
ungratefully destroying the hole that helps us.

Is the blank page a handle for holding the poem
while you consume it? Do you consume poems,
part passing through you (the roughage? All these
jagged consonants, prickly serifs, ragged right lines,
indigestible thises and thats?), part becoming you?

(You, not even a hole, you holy whole!)

Yet what you've consumed is left for others
to consume (each poem a burning bush
that burns and burns and is not consumed.)

Which of us is losing this duel?


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