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Page 208

This discussion has perhaps gone on too long
when (as now) I get bright ideas, and can't recall
if I used them already, perhaps 200 pages ago.
Do I repeat myself? Well, then, I repeat myself.
We'll call it a leit motif, a variation on a theme,
a test of your alertness, reader -- anything but senility.

Now what was that idea I can't recall if I used before? --
Oh yes! Angels! Have I mentioned they are messengers?
Yes. But have I mentioned that a page is also
a messenger? That's why pagers page you. And "blank"
derives from a word that means white, bright, shining.

So a blank page is a bright angel -- or perhaps,
a pageboy, out-of-breath, embarrassed because he can't
recall the message he rushed to deliver. A child comes to us
with a message, rushes out into the blankness (shining)
of new snow, plops down in it on his back
to waggle arms and legs, printing odd ideograms
on the day. Snow angels, blank pages filling up
the blank page. We fill up the something called nothing
with nothings called something.

If angels are characters on the snowy page,
then the messengers are the message. And if those
who create the message are angelic --
who is left for us to shoot?

Why, then, are we shooting each other? A bullet, too,
is a message, much like my poems, but I'm only shooting
blanks at blanks.

Note: This poem moves fast. It does make sense. I wrote it, but I had to read it twice just now. In the last two stanzas, the hackneyed "Don't shoot the messenger" takes on a broader meaning. In stanza 3, the "nothings called something" are angels, or more broadly, spirits – you and I, for example. Or they are the words and symbols on a page, whose substance we must continually create. "The messengers are the message" (for example, if snow angels are the message, and angels are messengers – or children are angelic – it fits in several ways) – this echoes McLuhan's The Message is the Massage (or is it vice versa), but not too much, I hope, since I think he got some things backwards.

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