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Page 170

Speaking of blankness (that is, writing of it),
I always went a bit blank as a kid, listening
to kids my age, on radio shows, shrilling
What was "extra"? They said it, too, in word clouds
in comic strips -- brave, scrappy kids chirruping
"EXTRA!", then "Thanks, Mr.", trading papers
for nickels, growing up to be James Stewart
as Mr. Smith going to Washington.

Years later I learned what a late, "extra" edition was,
and now I can't recall what spurious sense I dubbed in
to make those strange words fit -- maybe "extra special"?
Surely not, "superfluous, no real need to read this crap,"
or "we throw in bits of blood, violence and juicy gossip
at no added charge -- extra!" And only now would I wonder
if the "fa" in "falalalalal" replaced the "tra" in "tralala,
in which case fa would be an ex-tra.

I know I made something of it -- what weirdness, I wonder?
And what following words stumbled, blind, into the blankness
that followed those newsboy cries?

I think I got it nearly right -- some issues that had
extra good stuff. (How about "extra issues cheap --
all issues MUST GO!") After all, Superboy had just
saved the world, and here's the news, a cry
on the street, almost instantly. THAT'S something

Actually, it's quite ordinary: Every day the news proclaims
in huge banner headlines something -- whatever it can dig up,
there must be something fantastic happening to us all,
says the news, every damned day. Every ordinary day,
scream the headlines, is EXTRA-ORDINARY.

And this is true. It becomes obvious if, one day,
after years of reading the daily news, you skip it
and look around. Life is ordinary. Life is extra,
the added ingredient. "Ext" -- outside. We are not
this or that. We are extra, but extraordinarily so.

Note: For non-Frank-Capra fans, James Steward plays Mr. Smith, ex-Boy Scout (or some such thing) appointed to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat. When he gets in trouble, all the boys' clubs he worked with and had belonged to himself (including lots of newsboys) go to the rescue.

The last stanza may seem unreal to some. To me it's obvious: A chemical heap or soup; Just add life and stir – instant universe. The chemicals don't come together to hit on life by accident. Life is not any thing. It's what is capable of becoming any thing and making it live. It grants life.

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