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Arnold Klein


Meghan, once a man who’s run
Through all his options, chooses one,
His choice appears, suggests Bergson,
But any choice, once made, bar none,
                                        Would seem as fated.

The false conclusion that one draws is
Sustained by cants of causal laws. Is
There a fluke? An “unknown cause” is
                                        The prompt suggestion;
The answer, which stems hems and haws, is
                                        To beg the question.

The causes current cant endorses
Are market and genetic forces.
I waive all those too-handy sources
                                        Of self-excuse
To beat that deadest of dead horses—
                                        That slow-cooked goose—

Which ten years in I’m at a loss to
Name, or put a valid gloss to.
It would be nice to say “star-crossed two,”
                                        Or say our craws
Were throttled by an albatross—to
                                        Import a cause,

Instead of owning each ad-libbed
For why we, at those junctures, jibbed.
You, when, while my swain’s heart a-fibbed,
                                        You quashed my suing
With that canard, so clearly cribbed—
                                        Viz., nothing doing,

Since “second times around the block
Never worked”—a total crock,
As if you knew (from what great stock
                                        Of re-romance?) of
A cause for squashing them en bloc
                                        And in advance of

The twists of this proposed adventure.
Now, when there’s blenching, sure, the blencher
Is in her rights, so there’s no censure
                                        Here attaching;
And granted, if I were the wencher,

You ended our first passade
Indignant with, the same three odd
Decades still contrived to nod
                                        Between our tallies;
But what I’d hoped was that the squad
                                        Of too-banal he’s

Who’d formed your six-year losing streak
Had proved how, I don’t say unique
Our intersection was, just freak
                                        Enough you’d sabby
How wishful were the hopes you’d eke
                                        A match less shabby

From such confessedly slim pickin’s.
Except you passed. And why the dickens?
That things work out is each spring chicken’s
                                        Firm conviction,
Howbeit, as resistence thickens,
                                        It proves a fiction,

And you, though well past Doctor Seuss,
Could cop to that. But what excuse,
Once you’d cut your next nebbish loose
                                        And sworn off trifling,
Can my sagacity adduce
                                        For that night stifling

The really viable pre-nup
I was intent on bringing up?
And whether you’d have answered “Yup!”
                                        Or “Nosiree!”
Is not the point—which is, the cup
                                        Came round to me,

And all I thought to do was: dally.
Except that proved our Grand Finale:
Instead of down one more blind alley,
                                        An evil Fate
Led you to a less-banal he—
                                        It seems, your mate,

And so there was no second shot to.
Oh, well. It seems less pain’s a lot to
Expect of life—though I hope, not to
                                        Expect for yours;
When one’s about to bid ta-ta to
                                        One’s own, old scores,

Old flames, old hopes, old “roads not taken”
Are casualties one has no stake in.
A great peace falls; like a Van Aken
                                        The outre-tombe
Perspective such world lines pancake in
                                        Produces calm,

And one looks down, like those who climb
To mountain peaks, on space and time.
I gotta tell ya, they’re sublime,
                                        These moral heights;
One goes through motions, but, like mime,
                                        The winds one fights,

The walls one bumps, the girl one missed,
In some dimension, don’t exist.
The rules of chivalry insist
                                        That one pretend
That winds still blow, that walls resist,
                                        And hearts still rend,

However little one may want to;
But promise, when you cotton on to
How fluky was our liaison, to
                                        Perform a wake
Above the grave that I’ve long gone to—
                                        I’ll undertake

To turn a little in my coffin.
Till that day comes, perpend: the boffin
Calls mind a possible one-off in
                                        The cosmic waste;
If so, and boons, which don’t come often,
                                        Go unembraced,

The loss (as silly as this sounds)
Is really cosmic—it redounds:
The universe indeed abounds
                                        In quarks and mesons,
And stars blow up, and orbs make rounds
                                        For causal reasons,

But there is not an ounce of brain
To register the loss or gain.
Indifferency that inhumane
                                        Made Pascal cower;
When true loves, though, go down the drain,
                                        Swears Schopenhauer,

The universe, which does keep score,
Compassionates the lost rapport
By groaning deep—once each, no more.
                                        And may it just’ve?
I thought I heard it twice before.
                                        This time it must’ve.