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Page 235

These are short-term ways to stave off busy buzzing
blanknesses. For the long term (how about anti-vacuuophobia
for a long term?) – it helps to be able to confront
both something and nothing, both the moments of
excessive motion (bullets whizzing, cars crashing,
laser swords humming, ship up-and-downing)
and the deadly stillnesses such motions surround,
stillnesses embedded in the eyes of hurricanes, days
under deadening drugs in dark rooms, moments of
unconsciousness, years in solitary confinement –

the silence (or is it silences) between thunderclap
and lightning bolt, between the baby's head clunking
against the floor and forever later (thank God!) the baby's
YAAAHHHHHH! Between taking a sip of, you thought,
milk and realizing it is orange juice, between your lover's
beginning to tremble and – after she slowly, jerkily turns
to face you – your realization that she is...laughing?
Crying? Dying? Is listening, not to you, but to a cell phone?

It helps to be able to play. Children at play can get hurt,
but just before they are in rage or tears, you can see
play become something more hectic, with forced laughter,
manic glee, eyes you might imagine admiring the rainbow blur
of a fly's wings just before chubby fingers tear them off.

Poor fly, seeing those manic eyes in each of his thousand
dimming lenses. I think it was Kikaku (my favorite name
for a haiku poet) who showed Basho his haiku that said,
if you strip the wings off a dragon fly, you get a pepper pod,
to which Basho replied, that is not haiku; haiku is adding wings
to a pepper pod to get a dragonfly. Play without tears does not
tear off wings. It is soar without sore (or sour?), wing without
wring – I notice I'm not saying anything. Have you noticed
I'm not saying anything? And what's wrong with a pepper pod?
I'd rather have a flightless jalapeno than a mosquito.

What does play have to do with this. I'm writing alone
in my bedroom – playing with myself. Where are YOU?
But that's what I create to fill the blankness:
I create playmates. I create me. I create you.
No, don't thank me – it's my job.

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