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Page 19

A slingshot hurls a single stone.
A giant sling could be designed
to hold and hurl a thousand stones at once,
thus supporting a cast of thousands
(all on set for the next great shot,
then a break for lunch: Every modern drama
must include cast rations.)

To a serious poet like me, complex puns
are that undiscovered country from whose
bourne (boundary, I'll be bound, bounding
off the page) no traveler returns.

With puns I become deathless: What need
of death, if I can get lost in words? It's
as efficient a means to ditch all debts,
all responsibility to reader or page or

And eventually I can be reborn, refreshed,
from the chaos into which I plunge
(O! The slippery slope of punning!)
where everything means everything else
(seemingly seamlessly, seamily unseemly) --

reborn, emerging molten, white-hot gold,
cooling to a form simple and true.
(Emerge? or be spat out? -- even chaos
gets sick of puns; hear blankness groan!)

(Really puns are how I tread water
while deciding which way to swim next.)

O where O where is the old pond,
the frog leaping in, the water sound.

Nausea (sea of now), wasted blankness, too late
not to be, and it is useless now to ask
not to have been. (I'm enjoying all this
pathos. Are you?)

Note: "Cast rations" (and you caught this, didn't you?) is also castrations, staples of Freudian-fraught dramas. "Bourn" or "bourne", as used in Hamlet's To-Be-Or-To-Be...NOT speech alluded to above, means (poetically) a domain or archaically, a limit or boundary. I guess the archaic would be yesterday's bourne, if you were bourne yesterday. Stanza three, above, suggests that we die because we think we need death (a solution to indebtedness, for example, a form of bankruptcy relief). Or we THINK we die because we think we need death. I do believe that – or perhaps I only think I need to believe that?

The frog-pond part refers to Basho's famed poem that is usually considered the beginning of the haiku, a form whose simplicity left no room for complex word play – one might think, wrongly. As death is even in Arcadia, so puns show up in haiku.

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