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Night Thoughts

ISSUE:  Winter 1992
It’s eleven p. m. and I might as well ask
why don’t I make myself mashed potatoes
as I usually do for dinner at 6 p. m.
Why not at eleven p. m. ?
But I do not have the answer.
So habit rules,
and since I am hungry at eleven
and can think only of making mashed potatoes
I hesitate, seriously hesitate
and question my stability.

I have made a decision,
to eat mashed potatoes at eleven p. m.
and I am not to consider myself strange
as if secretly within I am yet another being
than the one of habit. That is the troubling thought.
Why not instead set a fire or rob or shoot someone?

So the impulse for mashed potatoes
has worldwide significance, and I, a mere being,
have in me this significant struggle.
Perhaps also it is going on in the cosmos
between gaseous clouds and magnetically powerful
black holes.

There, and I could not be happier
leading an important life in East Hampton
under a midnight lamp, with nothing here in town
exciting or adventurous but tourists and weekenders
coming and going, a monotonous, dull roundelay
of movement in and out of town that otherwise
lies dormant, as I do, waiting for something
to truly happen, though for me it already has happened,
my sudden, unexpected wish for mashed potatoes.


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