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Escape This Poem

by Donald Lessig

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Escape this Poem
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Passages
Poem 1
1
Don't read this poem unless you are willing to get lost inside it. Each sentence is a corridor that leads deeper into the castle. Each dark noun whispers for you to go further away from the light. Eventually, you will be trapped. You will find yourself behind walls of stones. You will hear water dripping from above. The light will be faint and filled with dust. You will hear moaning and whimpering and the ground will be soft and cold. You will want to turn around, but you can't because these are only words and sentences and you can't erase them from your mind. They are there now, like spider webs.

You will think that this can't be true, that your mind is stronger than these sentences. The tangled memories and not this plastic, they are not made of such weak things. You will try to remember a night sky filled with ghostly stars whose light reaches forward and backward through and into time. You will ask if this is where you will spend your remaining days, here in the dust and the dark. You will say that this is a misunderstanding; you were only reading accidentally. That you got lost and there will always be a residue of your past life itching beneath your skin. But that will only make it worse because there are no shapes, no words, that will ever again feel like home.
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And in this space, this lost world of your inner self you will find a dog. Because, inside every poem, there is a dog. And every dog inside the poem wants to get out. It is the space between getting in and getting out that creates the tension. These words, for example, are talking about things like poems and dogs. But those words and those things don't exist in the same place. There is an "in-between" that is haunted by both being and not being. And that is the space you occupy now. Your reading these words has imprisoned you with the dog. You are stuck in some void that you will never be able to describe because the words you use to describe this space only serve to fragment your existence even more.
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