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Page 252

Life, like a puppy (bow wow!), rushes to be where the attention is,
pops into our regard, nuzzles into our hands, finds our attention
and fills it up with tail thumps, imploring eyes and hot panting.
If you put your attention on something, life will become it.
Doesn't your computer seem, at times, to be inhabited
by a perverse spirit? How is it a man who cherishes a car
has no "car problems," until one day he lets someone
"not good with machines" borrow the car; and though this driver
does nothing really wrong – just considers the car a machine,
is a bit abrupt, like a heavy-handed lover who thinks women
are hunks of meat, doesn't call the car "Baby" and stroke
its shiny fender, its leather seats, lovingly – yet,
hardly has he turned the key when the car begins
to cough and choke and refuse to run.

Mechanics fix what they can fix, but it won't run right –
until returned to its owner, who puts up a good front –
raises the hood, peers, tinkers a bit – so that we may not notice
how, the instant he touches the car, it shimmers.

Of course, when he first turns the key, it will sputter
and kill – that's a reproach: "Why did you abandon me
to that Bozo!" He understands. He pats the steering wheel,
says, "It's OK, Baby. I'm sorry. I still love you. Now
be good," and next try, she starts up, sleek as silk.

Life IS the pathetic fallacy. It is what we are and what
we endow. Don't know much about bioloGEE...
but I can make this hand fill pages with poems, or
tweak dozens of tiny muscles into a smile as broad
as this simile; and, Reader, though I've invented you,
you are almost as real and alive as I am,

and one day (like Pinocchio become a real boy)
you will greet me in an unfamiliar (to me)
genuine human body – "Aren't you the guy
who wrote about blank pages?" – and
there you'll be, with your own thoughts,
dreams, loved ones, creations – take a bow! WOW!

Note: The "pathetic fallacy" is a label in literary criticism for the attribution of human feelings to trees, objects, etc. Instead of saying "I felt sad", the poet says that "the wind moaned in the trees." While trite uses of this device are indeed pathetic or bathetic, the idea that it's a fallacy to consider that things can be endowed with our more powerful feelings – that idea I call the Apathetic Fallacy, the idea that when our thoughts attribute feelings to things, the things don't "really" feel anything. If you've ever seen what I describe above (the return of the emotionally abused car) you will probably agree that we can endow things with feelings, much as we endow these humanoid bodies with feelings.

Or did you have it the other way around – that our bodies endow us with feelings? They do somewhat, I think. After all, they have a rudimentary life of their own, even when we leave them -- in comas or in death, when hair and nails and some other cells persist for a time. But we are as alive as WE create our emotions and dreams, and our emotional "horse power", before we drug or otherwise drown ourselves in apathy, easily overrides the body's allegedly powerful passions. If you didn't add your dreams to the body's spark of lust (and attribute your contribution to the body), that spark would vanish, a firefly to your sun. "Don't know much about bioloGEE" – line from a pop song from a few decades ago. The singer doesn't know histoREE or bioloGEE, all he knows is that he loves you, isn't that wonderful!

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