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Page 256

[This page has been left blank intentionally.] No it hasn't.
I'm not that sort of poet. (What sort am I? I don't know –
I'm out of sorts.) Last, schmast! This is just another page,
and damned if I'll be daunted by numbers,
by the bathos of lastness. Besides, there's lots of page left.
Hercules and the tortoise could take forever to race
to the end of this page. Last is elastic. (I won't bore you
with foot-shaped lasts and finishing soles and other sole-heeling
ancient puns.) (See, there's still time to waste puns.) (Keep
whistling so the ghoulies don't get you!)

(But why am I writing smaller?) If I've done my job well,
you can get to the end of this page, this book, this whatever,
pretending you aren't moved, but you are, for even this
misshapen thing lives, and its end stirs you, simply because it is
an end: you find yourself drifting away from something,
becoming aware, as it grows dim with distance (on this planet,
it turns blue, like air-drenched mountains – hence, blue is our sad color) --
aware that its voice is still a little with you, that those diminishing
roof tops in the toy city beneath your plane hold lives (however
hectic and stupid) like your own. Anything ending
is everything else that has ever ended or will end (nothing
ever does, by the way), so there's always a need to blink
a few times and swallow. (Oh, all right, BE a tough guy!)

Yes, when you've finished this page (hey, what about this
word?) and close this book, it will dawn on you that something
has ended, that there was something, someone here, even
some part of you. You can pretend you're not moved, set this object
on a table or shelf, then, ten seconds or ten years later, open it
to page one or page 63 or any page and begin to read, and
there we'll be again, good as new.

(No animals, characters, poets or readers were harmed or killed off
during the making of this book. However, a few trees had their lives
shortened – or lengthened, depending on how long these lines live.)

I just paused to think of a killer ending (got to bring in blank pages,
got to "say it all"), something as good as Eckhart's "The eye with which
you see God is the eye with which God sees you." (Or vice versa?)
The page on which you create me is the page on which
I create you. Or I could dog-trot out a last lick of doggerel:

I'm not a sage,
A mage, heart's gauge.
I'm just a page,
Your glance my wage.

Not bad (could be worse? Say yes, or I'll do a worse one),
but we're running out of blankness. (How can one run out
of nothing?) What else is there to be said? I write.
I fill blank pages.
And you?

Note: In stanza 1, "Hercules and the tortoise" refers to one of Zeno's paradoxes, wherein, though Hercules moves twice as fast as the tortoise, it takes him forever to catch up with the tortoise, who has a ten foot head start. (Look it up, see if you can spot the flawed logic.) And (re stanza 5) If you don't already know him, look up Meister Eckhart too (Johannes Eckhart, c. 1260-c.1328) – tell him I sent you.

Also in stanza one, "I'm not that sort of poet" – is supposed to suggest a "nice girl's" response to a proposition. Funny how a nice girl wants a proposal, but not a proposition. I suppose a bad girl is in favor of (pro) the positions, but not the poses. She wants the real thing.

One of the key points in this poem and in much that goes before is that our "real" emotions (e.g., of grief, betrayal, joy) are also gestures, though no less real emotions for being gestures. By "gestures," here I mean that they are names we give to certain motions. They are significances we have learned to attach to mechanical situations. If you move with a poem for a long enough time, then moving away from that poem will involve grief, not because one is sad to be leaving the poem, but because leaving what one has to some extent been part of IS sadness. In other words, without further significance or definition of character, just the movie of a man alone on the beach with the camera first dwelling on him (regardless of whether he is handsome or ugly, pensive or cheerful, etc.), then slowly pulling away from him until he vanishes from view will convey sadness. It doesn't "symbolize" sadness. It IS sadness. Emotions are lower harmonics of mechanics of viewpoint, what position in space we assume with respect to something, and the amount of force resisting or impelling changes of position. Similarly there are space-energy mechanics (easily described) to ridicule, betrayal, anger, etc. (Ridicule: Show someone something, then pull it away, then let him approach, then pull it away, then, while keeping it at a distance, point at him, smiling. The significance of the thing pulled away is irrelevant. It's the motion.)

For all my protestations, above, that the last page is just another page, I did notice, as I wrote it, that I was writing smaller, as if anticipating having to crowd a great deal into the last page. Probably annotating this last page ruins it. After all, when the poem ends, that could be the end of me, but here I am again, annotating. How can I recover that fade out? I can't. And how have YOU been?

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