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Page 213

We are people, we are voices (to one dozing
by the fire), we are noises, we are letters
on a page, we are ink scribbles, we are the forms
that enclose bits of blank page...we are people....
How rapidly the shift occurs, the magic comes
and goes, as quickly as lust becomes boredom becomes
disgust -- what are my lips doing here? Why are we
making these motions like an oil pump or a man starting
a motorcycle, these noises, pretending to like it?
As quickly as with a touch, a view of shadowed clefts
beneath silk, indifference flares to lust; as quickly as,
eyes catching eyes, someone is there, then
no one is there; as quick as quick becomes dead --

so one moment, we are in a world, the next moment,
"Kim knew what Jessica was only beginning to suspect,
knew it the instant Darrell shrugged, tossing his jacket
on the couch, and grunted, ‘C'mere,’ as if..." -- Kim? Jessica?
Darrell? There is no WHO here; some charlatan is juggling names:
"Step right up! Guess which hand holds the Kim!"

And yet, last night, when Kim thought of Jason, poor lost Jason,
and with him all her lost dreams, you got teary, reader
("Reader" is a name I juggle -- or is it you? You is a pronoun
I juggle.)

It's a funny thing about "Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn!"
Rhett Butler says it in a book. But does he really? I can't unhear
Clark Gable saying it. Since I saw the movie before I read the book,
I've never known what Rhett, in the book, sounded like
before he was possessed by Gable. Movie trumps book.
And yet, though I saw the movie before reading War and Peace,
my Natasha sounds nothing like Audrey Hepburn. The book
had stronger magic, better medicine, more mojo.

If you met me before reading this (and all too likely, only a few
close friends will read this far), will you be able to unhear
my remembered voice, the one that, heard on a tape recorder,
seems to me thin and alien? Will you be able to hear my real voice,
the one that is only here?

And if what you hear is your own inner voice,
perhaps it is a voice you'd forgotten you had,
a capability of thinking new thoughts. And how can
any voice you hear on this page (hear here!)
be other than your own?

Note: First stanza: The comparison (which takes some long leaps) is between the way, in an instant, what seems a living voice on a page can come to seem meaningless ink squiggles and the way lust can turn off (so that one's ardent love-making can become mechanical motions like those of an oil pump, etc. Maybe that was clear to you – it was to me when I wrote it. But in rereading it now, I found it difficult, so added this note. The stanzas about Kim, Jessica, et. al., refer to no one in particular, just once-trendy names in some potboiler that has suddenly lost my interest.

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