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Page 224

Speaking (as I briefly did) of morays and mores [pun alert! Pun alert!],
this "now" creature is eely (Time winds all eels).
Now I write these words, and now (the SAME now)
you read them. You may be many or few.
You may be me, rereading what I wrote a day
or a year before. You may be my wife or an old friend.
(If you were not an old friend when you began
reading this work, perhaps by now....) You may be
people not yet born (not to your current names)
as I write. (A reef has many currents, as do some eels.)

Here I am (here, now) in 9 October 2004. One of you,
perhaps (one cell of that awkward composite creature,
you), is in 2008, another in 2020, another – dare I hope that
not only these poems, but also this language, this planet
may endure so long – another is in 2317! And that you
just discovered in these words a pun that no one
had noticed before, not even me!

And all these different nows are one now,
not only in the trivial sense that always and only
we live in an eternal now – true enough –
but what is vast in the dimension or dementia
we call eternity is Occam's-razor-thin here
where words are spoken. You'd think you couldn't squeeze in
an edged wise word, much less a poem. But from the start to the end
of "the" is an infinity of eternities. The gap between noise
and meaning is even greater, here in eternity
where, instantly, all is known, all space pervaded.

[That last stanza must be great. Even I can't remember
what I meant – when I wrote it, long, long ago, in a far distant....]

But in this parody of here and now, where an excruciating
parody of eternity (called "duration") is required
to snail-creep though inches, miles, light-years of space
(Why are light years so heavy?), here we string together
our separate nows on a thread of shared configurations
of objects, landscapes, newspaper dates, clock hands,
calendar pages, constellations, walls, ceilings, any shared
frame of reference. And so we can string these pearls
we call "now" on our awareness of shared words,
one "now" in which I write and you read, another
in which I write while you watch the news (not the nows),
trillions of strands of pearls, crossing, entangling,
reflecting wavery shadows of eternity.

Note: Line one says "Now is eely" because "time winds all eels" (makes eels unreel in winding ways) – a play on "time heels all wounds" and its humorous inverse: "time wounds all heels", but "wound" is past tense of "wind". Some eels having "many currents" refers to electric eels. Re stanza 2: I'm now in 25 Dec. 2006. Merry Xmas! As for the pun no one has noticed before – I still haven't noticed it. Stanza 4 explains stanza 3 (not). "Edged wise word" plays on "Word in edgewise." I guess the huge difference between nothing and something is also a very tiny difference. Yet one can make something (or everything) out of it.

Hey, I just noticed the pun you and I hadn't noticed before (word play, if not pun): Just before that remark comes the hope that "...this planet may endure so long" -- or "endure 'so long'" -- that is, outlast goodbye.

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