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Page 200

Can one be too much oneself? I love
the way I'm writing here, utterly self-indulgent,
each page one more hot-fudge sundae (with
almonds and billows of whipped cream) to slurp up --
well, perhaps less lush, less sweet, less known by my
fruitiness, more sour, grainy and spicy -- brown rice,
shredded chicken, crisped bacon, onion, green pepper,
garlic cloves, cashews, strong cheese melted in, mustard,
cayenne, green and red peppers, tomatoes, corn,
mushrooms...what else shall we chop up, throw in
and stir? Salt, yes, olive oil, curry powder. Raisins?
Pineapple bits? Almonds? Sure. MORE! OK,
so I'm a messy casserole ("Slumgooey", my Dad
would have called it), but I love this stuff,
my finest work! I eat it up! But who else
can stomach it? One doesn't write this way,
make logic leap and never land, put my
awful puns where my mouth is (and your ears?) --
one mustn't write this way and one doesn't.

I am writing myself into a cozy corner,
a self-indulgent Jack-Horner corner -- both thumbs
sticky from licking off plums (for I've been
plumbing the depths?). Soon even my wife (are you still
here with me, Pam?) Won't be willing (able?)
to read these poems. And eventually I, myself,
will find them unreadable. And then I will have
achieved it: A book of blank pages full of
themselves, nothingness manifest in the fullness (burp!)
of self.

And then, Reader, we will live happily ever after

Note: My wife has read all these poems, at what sacrifice I cannot say. The last line can be construed variously: We will live happily after yet more poems. We will live happily ever in pursuit of yet more. I use "we will" and not "we shall" in stuffy recollection of the almost abandoned distinction between what is predicted to occur (what SHALL occur, when in first person: I or we shall) and what one is determined to make happen or will into existence: I or we WILL. In other words, the poet is telling the reader that we will damned well live happily ever after or else. But not quite that, since we live happily ever after MORE. And don't we? – that is, don't we love having more to be after? Or what's a Robert Browning for. (I'm thinking of Browning's "Ah but a man's reach should exceed his grasp [or is it the other way ‘round] or what's a Heaven for?" from his poem "Andrea Del Sarto" -- or is it Jean Paul Sarto?)

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