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Page 240

One of the nasty tricks I play on myself is to hold
nothing back. I think "what a great line! Save it
to end the poem, the book." Then I say, fuck it! USE it!
This forces me to come up with something better.
A hundred times, by all the unwritten laws of climaxes
and orgies, I've ended this book and kept going, wave
after wave, throb after throb, like all-night passions
in bodice-ripping, breast-and-ball-wringing romance novels
or Wagner's "Liebestod": Isolde laments over dead Tristan
so long that one heroic dead tenor – Melchior?
(Lawrence, not the Mage) – is said
to have interrupted her endlessly crescendoing aria
with sonorous snores. (Long-lunged was her longing.)

(I suspect the tenor had to pee. In German a heroic tenor
is a Helden Tenor. Heroically, he held it in.)

However, as Sgt. Pepper remarked, it's getting very near
the end. Of course, there are other books, other
blank pages to fill. But our blanknesses are sufficient
unto the day thereof? That can't be right. Bartlett?
Bartlett? (I say it twice because Bartlett is a pear.)

Anyway, here's another trick: If I can be trivial awhile,
you'll forget the last big moment and be set up
for the next big moment. But that's a kind of holding
back, which I never do, right? So let's get profound,
guys, and give this poem the kind of WHAMMO
culmination I know you're capable of (thereof?).
(Would a diminutive female Bartlett be a Bartlettette?)

C'mon, guys, you can do it! Say something about the
nothingness of nothing or do some funny voices that
turn out to be voices of desperation. Bare-handed pluck
a fiery gem from the furnace (hot potato! Tepid peut-etre)
and juggle it (an arc of flashing facets) so fast it has no chance
to burn your hand. That's not bad, if I do say so myself.
(Do you see anyone else around here? Hey, I'm talking to
YOU. Do you see anyone else here? I don't see anyone else

Truth can burn. Poetry makes it – not safer (no oven mittens
allowed) – but briefly, by putting rapid spin on it, makes it
viewable, touchable.

Juggle faster, please. Be a blunt, passionate reader:
Go for the juggler!

Note: Bartlett – a kind of pear, but also the author of a book of famous quotations where I could find the exact words of the Biblical passage about our troubles being sufficient unto the day.... "Peut-etre" sounds a bit like "potato". It's French for "perhaps". "Do you see anyone else..." – Deniro in The Taxi Driver. "Juggler" – and, of course, jugular.

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