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If pen and paper could write
themselves (when the wine drinks itself when the skull speaks) the dying
would go easier; the slain
could tell their stories from memory
and every book, a page or two
in, would tell the story of you

because you (yes you)
when you speak, eat, dance, write
make the stories. And if one or two
idiots think different, I hope they don’t mind dying
in a fire, in the sea, where no memory
is made; their voices slain

you refuse every day to be slain
to lie down and let them walk on you
to let them tread on so much as a memory
no, instead you write
and your words burn like dying
stars on the paper: system SDSS J010657.39–100003.3, where two

stars are dying right now, slowly, in a binary system, two
stars coming together at the speed of light, slain
by their love for each other and dying
to make a third star out of the words you
find in the space between stars and write
in ink black as their own birth-memory

I’m never sure if it’s a story or a memory
or something else entirely; the two
become tangled and conflated, like that binary star. I write
it down anyway, force it onto a page bleeding ink, slain
by its own inception but you,
you winnow living words from dying

and hand me back the rest, insisting they are not dying
but worthy of memory
and because it was you
that said it, I listen and pluck out the two
lines and half a word that I have not slain
and I sit me down to write

Thought and memory are not two
birds, picking at you among the slain
these are not the voices of the dying, but the living: write.

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