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Page 74

We must be complex, create Rube Goldberg devices
that turn our tiniest impulses into "incurable" ailments,
run even our simplest creations, our poems, our hellos,
through the cumbersome machinery of inspiration,
milieu, mood, family history, social history -- ah,
the universe writes this poem, not I -- I'm innocent,
a social construct. (Deconstruct me!) It has nothing
to do with me, since I don't exist.

Solidities, too, we create: Old, tangled-up unanswered,
unacknowledged communications, no boulder nor
diamond so solid that it would not vaporize
in a gust of laughter if we could untangle its dense clump
of ancient, compressed communications

(For there's nobody and nothing here but us beings),

if we could understand them precisely. Just greeting
all we see makes the world less solid.
Every small child knows this ("Hello, car, Hello,
bug. Hello, cloud.") Even a bruise may go away,
when kissed.

If you speak to a complexity, your "hello" and its response
(both having to travel over kinked and tangled lines)
take time. If the circuitry (like a wary psychopath's,
set up to evade detection) includes an instant-answer
machine, you'll get a quick response, but it will be
robotic, non-sequitur. The live response
takes longer. You say to the sad sad face,
"How are you doing?" A machine says, "Fine."
Hours or days later, the face meets yours and says,
"My life is fucked."

Note: Rube Goldberg: 20th Century cartoonist and sculptor best known for his drawings of ludicrously complicated machines for accomplishing trivial tasks.

"Deconstruct" – part of the language of a late 20th Century mode of thought (and literary criticism – not to imply that thought has much to do with literary criticism) called, among other things, "post-modernism." A post-modern critic doesn't discuss a poem. Rather he "deconstructs a text". What does that mean? Ask your local post-modernist critic. (Or don't.)

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