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Austerity

   “Mad, but beautifully mad...”
              —Carolyn Kizer


my instinct to war against reality positions me against its defenders,
those despots of assumption about the unassimilated data
(though I judge them only deluded, not deranged, insufficiently subtle)
coercing commitments from the credulous about the desperate
cleverness of life—all the little cowards hiding behind the illusion
of specificity, tending their wounded understanding
with their eureka! and other ejaculations

(I will not comment on their love of shame)

maybe we're misdirected by the agendas of the mapmakers,
maybe the brink of madness is the center of sanity
maybe each generation must develop new skills of orientation
using our most sordid inquiries for disambiguation
(what would anything be without perturbation?)
calculating the amplitude of ambivalence as if
the incorporation of data leads to congruence with reality

truth reveals truth
lies reveal truth
silence reveals truth

the consensus of consciousness
the clutter of experience
the ego mess of imagination—
how they pass the time
like a biscuit to someone else

confined to the middle zone, excess reduced to essence,
we remain ignorant of extremes and therefore question
borders, edges, boundary

why begin anything when there's no time to finish it?
the world is poisoned already with beginnings

it's not that we have to traverse darkness to reach light
it's that both beckon us follow to move forward
and if we don't keep moving we die to the data-gray,
becoming choral robots
synthesizing song
like Mozart, like Bach
(but not, perhaps, like Beethoven)
from the computronium

All poems are written and copyrighted by Michael C. Rush.
None may be republished or repurposed without permission.