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At the Desiring Vine

A rolling stone gathers no moss.
Postmodernism disrupts tradition.
He who hesitates always gets lost.
Necessity is the mother of invention.

Postmodernism disrupts traditions
like "half a loaf is better than none"
and "necessity is the mother of invention."
Shadows passing through imagined pavilions

are half a loaf but better than none.
We stage the event in an infinite circle
where the shadows of imagined pavilions
are indelible, mortal, and eternal.

Caught within an infinite circle,
everyone gets a video erection--
indelible, eternal, and immortal.
History lacks mass media protection.

When everyone gets a video erection,
a video condom constructed of lead
provides the needed media protection
from graphic images, living and dead.

A video condom constructed of lead
says: Handsome is as handsome does.
Graphic images, living and dead,
grow in the postmodern video garden.

Handsome is as handsome does, says
Nam June Paik, creating eye candy.
His postmodern video garden grows
until the video cement hardens.

Nam June Paik says that eye candy
joins the elite and popular cultures.
But when the video cement hardens,
poetry's rhetorical factory closes.

The elite and popular cultures
are joined like oil and blue water.
As the rhetorical factory closes,
poetry becomes voice-over narration.

We join like oil and water, but then
where are we? A story to tell but no telling.
Poetry becomes voice-over narration.
We get a movie from the slasher section.

Then where are we? A story to tell
about decaying gracefully, thank you.
The movies in the slasher section
are pure fiction, except in this country.

We're decaying gracefully, thank you,
and shaky as a "trembling prairie."
We're pure fiction in this country,
where a perfect knowledge of grammar

might as well be a trembling prairie.
Playing classical music in a boom car,
we have perfect knowledge of grammar,
no story to tell but a way of telling.

Playing classical music in a boom car,
we drive into the cultural scenery,
no story to tell but a way of telling.
The future is blank, the page is written.

As we drive into the cultural scenery,
the eye is mild, the landscape persuasive.
The future is blank, the page is written.
Necessity is the mother of invention.

(originally published in The Chicago Review)