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Page 159

The blankness is what comes next,
not necessarily a page -- could be
the next sentence, word or letter.
Of course, often what's gone before
seems to determine what is to come,
one good sentence leading to another, one page
to another, one life... -- but if you always know
the next word, why write? Why talk?
Why play "Peek-a-BOO!" with the baby
hiding and peeping over Mom's shoulder
ahead of you in line at the post office?

I write to surprise myself with (not surprisingly)
myself, who, surprisingly or not, often turns out
to be you. I like it when line two makes nonsense
of line one, but line three turns it all
into a sense so obvious you can't quite recover
the clarity of chaos that had flared up
for a flash in line two -- like that brief whiff of...
is it shit? Yuck!...NO, WAIT -- Ahh!
Peanut butter cookies baking!

Is this what's meant by thesis, antithesis, synthesis?
(Isis is the sis to Osiris -- "Ain't I the sis,"
says she. Sin thee, Sis?) (But whatever Isis is
is right.)

I also like to extend the nonsense to the point where
plain sense is irrecoverable, then salvage it,
like rescuing imperiled Pauline from the train tracks
or old-saw mill (Hallmark is one), where she's tied down,
the train or saw blade inches from her vulnerable bosom,
approaching, and approaching again and yet again....

(I think the camera has a stutter.) (Thank God,
this camera isn't lisping, or how could I ever
enunciate thesis, synthesis, antithesis? Or dare
to speak of whatever Isis is to Osiris?)

Note: Perhaps the circumstance in stanza two is not as universal as I think. Sometimes I smell something only very distantly, and am not sure whether to react to it with pleasure or disgust. As I come nearer, the odor defines itself, and I realize that heavy musky scent is not something foul, but the even more dangerous (entrapping) scent of peanut butter cookies baking.

In stanza three I re-introduce Isis and Osiris, who so generously donated to an earlier poem in this sequence a sentence with eleven repetitions in a row of "is" – this time to recreate "thesis, antithesis and synthesis. For the pun-imperiled, "Isis is the sis to Osiris" decodes to "Isis is thesis to Osiris." "Ain't I the sis" approximates "antithesis" and "Sin thee, Sis?" suggests "synthesis."

In stanza 4, Pauline is the name of the hero of early silent films. She is often tied to the train tracks or to wood being sawed. The train (or saw) seems to take forever approaching her, giving her rescuer time to save the day. Often in one shot the train is almost there, but in the next, it seems to be no closer, as if the camera is stuttering. But not lisping. Imagine saying "synthesis" or "Isis" with a lisp – or read the next poem!

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