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Page 51

Readers, too, might find this exercise
of interest. But there is nothing
we cannot benefit from facing;
we've hidden our demons everywhere --
in faces, because faces remind us
of the faces that snarled at us
as they attacked us, smirked as they
ridiculed us, wept as we punished them,
peeked up at us through their deepest sobs
to see if we were buying it... --

hidden demons in a stick, a stone (they've
hurt us, we've hurt others with them),
a chair, a bed, a room, a ceiling
(theaters for all our dramas) -- we've a world
worth confronting, but these words

are unraveling out onto blank pages -- no longer
blank once they get to you. Why should YOU
(you're no writer, are you?) -- why should you
confront a blank page?

First, because we all create, or if we don't,
it is because we cannot confront blankness
and find it newly again and again. Second,
because, dear reader, consider how,
in a lifetime of reading, you must,
in order to read, focus on black lettering
to the exclusion of the whiteness of the page,

which must be suppressed, pushed back,
so that you see the page, not as incomprehensible
white shapes delineated by black lines,
but see only the black, comprehensible shapes
of letters. Years of reading deadens us.

An explosion is a plume of dazzling brightness,
followed by black smoke and ashes that burn
and stick to flesh, then a sense of desolation.
Orgasms borrow the same production values.
Scholar, how desolate it must feel,
day after day, to stare at ashes and deny
the explosions.

And if you looked at a blank page for a long time
and did nothing else, reader, from what habitual
grimaces (held in place by your effort
to hold back the whiteness and cling
to black shreds of bereft significance) --
from what gargoyle grimaces might you be unfixed.

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