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Page 75

And that is what we call blankness --
our waiting for an answer. The only trap
there is (as I mentioned before).

When, falling from a building, you beg
the concrete to be gentle, soft, yielding --
it would yield for you if it could, if your plea
could get to it in time, but it takes
billions of years for stone to receive
live communication, billions more
to respond, for a stone is the perfect bureaucracy.

(Eat your heart out, IRS, poetry editors who take
years to send out a canned rejection slip, traffic

A stone's officials are helter-skelter, every which way,
colliding with one another, dodging in frenetic dashes,
a zillion self-important particles frozen in the randomness
of each going its own way, their collisions cancelling out
the motion of the whole, presenting the stable facade
of a government; a catatonic humming
with fragmented, opposed thoughts; a stone.

The blankness of a psychopath's stare (far briefer
than a stone's, but we expect so much more
from a human face, from letters on a page)
is the waiting. Stones and sticks and nasty names
have hurt him, or, in his mouth or hands,
hurt others. Now he is masked and barricaded,
surrounded by cautious layers of machinery
all disguised as a person. If you say to him,

"I love you," this reaches him -- after many
dissections and misinterpretations (for example,
"I am about to betray you") years after his apparent
blank-eyed answer, and years after that,
his real answer may find its way to
what's left of you.

Note: The idea that a stone's solidity derives from the random motions of particles that collide and thus cancel out motion of the collection of particles that comprise the stone (or any solid) is part of statistical mechanics and related disciplines, but is also derivable (in a far more basic sense) from the notion of a universe whose persistence is guaranteed by its creators taking no responsibility for their individual parts in their co-creations

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