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Page 186

Life, like one of those pretty striated drinkypoos
(red grenadine topped by yellow, green and
chocolate liqueurs), comes in tiers, teary layers
of nothing, something, nothing, something...

At bottom (there is no bottom) life is what we are,
neither something nor nothing, creator of both,
but since it is most easily defined (by us, in our
clotted something state) as what it is not,
we think of it a nothingness, fear what we are
or yearn for the oblivion we've confused with ourselves..

(It takes a heap of oblivion to make a home a house.
It takes a leap of hiving to make a home a socialist dormitory.
Funny that the poet remembered for lines about making
a house a home was named "Guest" -- Edgar, E. Guest,
almost "egest." But I jest.)

Then we put something there and lie about it, say
it was always there, nothing to do with us, the authorities
did it, everyone knows that -- and the lie makes
what was once our creation persist (Home, Sweet Home).
Now we have something to have. And when we have
lots of somethings (reality, when many agree to it),
sometimes lots of lots (if realty is our reality -- or our lot),
we may decide that enough is too much and try to make
our stuff and the ticking time we've made for and of our stuff
and the space we've anchored with it all vanish,

implode, explode, collapse into nothing; but they
won't go away, or they crumple into an even more sticky
and unwanted mess -- ashes, bloody bits, rusty junk,
welters of energy as chaotic as a stormy sea or the random
blue szzzzt of a live severed power line brushing with each swing
the top of a wrecked car; dying stars, black holes, twisted time
full of painful lacunae, warped spaces that spin and refuse
to distinguish up from down; children with hyena smiles
who wait for a chance to kill.

Then we (I hear you, critic, you have a problem, you say,
with this "we", who is this "we"? We have a problem with you,
critic. Are we amused?) -- we sweep our mess under a rug,
behind a black screen or simply say it isn't there, making it
(for us) invisible or at least translucent, growing dim and pale
like our knowledge of our own power to create. Having
made this parody of "nothing", we call it chaos, and,
forgetting who we were or that we were and always are
before chaos ever was), we make nothing of nothing.

Note: One poet friend, in particular, typifies the critic in the last stanza who "has a problem" with the use of "we" to nudge the reader into conformance with my ideas. I enjoy mocking this "having a problem", but she's a sharp critic, and will probably be one of the few to get this far into these poems. (Hello, critic!)

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