We are playing a game,
Listing off all the synonyms we can think
How many words
(So many words)
Flat and soft and ruined like overripe nectarines?
We will remember them.
We will use them well.
First, we can begin with the beguiling,
(Because, as it turns out,
There just aren’t that many ways to say Yes.
There are, however,
So many ways to stretch
The spaces between what we want to hear
And what we will believe.)
Then we will move to the concocted.
(Those are my favorite.)
In this language world we practice
How to maneuver from scene to character,
How to appropriate the weaknesses of the listener
And shape those weaknesses
Into something they’ll imagine is,
And was always,
(I am good at shaping.)
From the concocted, we easily move into that which is apocryphal.
These are your department—
You can be in charge of editing these volumes.
You will decide which tall tales to include
(Therefore, necessarily, the kind of boring bits)
And which of these tall tales will be left out
(The luscious, bloody entrails of accidental love affairs?
The intimate intercourse between dragons and snake charmers and belly dancers?)
I won’t interfere—you take the lead in this section of the game.
After our insubstantial diversions,
We cruise the lesser words—
Crowds of letters and syllables will insert themselves into our conversation
Whether we like it or not.
We try to remove them,
But the houses in which they live,
These mansions that we built for them...
How much time did we spend on the construction?
They are palatial.
Only a fool would want to leave such Gorgeous,
I think we will end the game on casuistry.
You will try to make sure that this does not occur,
And I will work towards it.
After all, I started this game.
I wrote these rules.
Casuistry is where all of this will end
And where all of it will begin again.