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Page 201

"Manifest" -- as when, sated with bowl after bowl
of steaming casserole, I can say I am filled
with many feasts. For I am Man: I feast,
then fester. Fearing fester, I feast faster,
thumbing plums, fistful after fitful fistful.

But I would share. Here my many fustian feasts
are made magnificently munificently manifest --
feast your ears!

Sorry. I had to get that out of my system. (What?
You didn't know there's system to my sadness?)
I can read the reviews now (the reviews
that these poems may never receive): "This poet
succeeds in disappearing up his own asshole" --
yes, I'm a Kline bottle doing a Mobius striptease.

Speaking of "feast, then fester," there's a chain
of funeral homes (home being where the heart is,
even after it stops beating) in Florida (where funerals
are all the rage) called ‘Moss-Feaster".
Given such richness, would it be ungrateful of me to ask
that either Mr. Moss or Mr. Feaster be a Mortimer?
(Mort, you are he!)

The English of Jack Horner's day (circa Henry VIII)
knew how to bake trick pies with living blackbirds inside
(for real -- a surprise for guests). So Jack could have had
his thumb nipped off. But that's OK, for we are told
by those who plumb the depths of Pi that it has
no end of digits. Irrational, but there you have it.

Well, we have come full circle (pie are squared),
but we still don't know Jack.

There, this page has done it. I'm ready to find it
unreadable, a blot on blankness's escutcheon.
No, I love it. But will I still respect me
in the morning?

(Slight nausea. Can it be that last awful pun
escutcheon up to me?)

Note: "Fearing fester, I feast faster" – just pausing to admire that one. The Kline bottle is a hollow three dimensional object with no distinction (in terms of topology, the mathematics of surfaces) between its inside and its outside. (It's a cylinder of greater diameter at one end – like a bottle – whose narrow end is attached, through a hole in the lower section, to the hole at the lower end, looking like a wine bottle that has bent over and gone into itself to suck out its own lees. Its 2-dimensional equivalent is the Mobius Strip, which you can create by taking a strip of paper about an inch across and 10 inches long and attaching one end to the other, first making one twist. The result is a hoop with a twist in it. If you move a pencil along the center of it, lengthwise around the hoop, you will come out on the opposite side of the paper. Or rather, you have a hoop formed by a strip of paper, where the strip has only one side. The two sides we intuit (of bottle or strip) relate to each other as my shallowness relates to my profundity.

In the next stanza I say funerals are all the rage in Florida because Florida is Retirement Paradise, where Americans go to die. I suggest the name Mortimer because "Mort" means death. "Mort, you are he" is "mortuary." Or, after a sex-change operation, "O bitch, you are he!"

The Jack Horner stanza goes from pie to pi, the irrational number times which diameter must be multiplied to derive the length of a circle's circumference and times which the square of the radius (pi time r squared or "pie are squared") must be multiplied to get the area enclosed by a circle. Oddly enough, I find some people, otherwise bright, don't know that. Pi does have no end of digits (after its decimal point). An irrational number just keeps going, never hitting a pattern of repetition of digits, and a spare digit is what Jack would need after plumbing a plum pie and getting a finger nipped off by a blackbird. "We still don't know Jack" – don't know much about Jack Horner, or have gone round a Mobius Strip or Kline Bottle, and can't readily define where we are, or, in the slang use, we don't know anything ("don't know jack-shit" is the fuller form).

In the last stanza, I'm not sure if "that last awful pun" is supposed to come before (does "in the morning" suggest "in the mourning" in this poems deathly context?) or refers to the one that immediately follows. (Don't ask me, I'm just the writer. Ask the director or the producer. (You've read the poem! Now see "Blank Pages – the MOVIE!" (perhaps a musical, starring Keanu Reaves as the blankness).

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