Of Being Numerous, 13
unable to begin At the beginning, the fortunate Find everything already here. They are shoppers, Choosers, judges; . . . And here the brutal is without issue, a dead end. They develop Argument in order to speak, they become unreal, unreal, life loses solidity, loses extent, baseball's their game because baseball is not a game but an argument and difference of opinion makes the horse races. They are ghosts that endanger One's soul. There is change In an air That smells stale, they will come to the end Of an era First of all peoples And one may honorably keep His distance If he can.
From New Collected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Linda Oppen. Used with permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.