Bill Mohr: Game Theory


Game Theory

          “brutal invisibility” —Karl Shapiro

Paper, scissors, rock, played out to seven wins
for the computer, seven for me, and eight “ties.”
The question is how long can I out-random
its access memory stack of two hundred thousand
counted cards with my own Irreconcilable
fuck-ups. My secret is the computer can’t see
my deck of 15 cards — five sets of paper, scissors, rock
I’ve surmounted with the tender, glowing faces
of women who wished I had loved them longer
or not at all, the ones assigned to the paper
of words engorged like big-print books
for the nearly blind, the ones like a winding path
of washed rock whose fingertips make every other
woman’s touch seem like cold sand,
and the ones who cut, all too briefly,
the chains that kept me small,
and as I fall back in a purifying reverie —
the paper of Julia, Sophie, Chrissie,
the rock of Amberlyn, Cassandra, Roberta
the scissors of Helen, Carole, Marta —
I glance from face to face, and let the lingering
pause wheresoever the solace
finds a flaw that makes me ache
to be with her again, and I would
wage my life — the incarnating gasp
itself I will finally utter — that I
will triumph over the rational
chaos of programmed fate, the distilled
predictability of all that’s gone
before invoked as counterpoint
to the final nothingness of the next choice:
the randomness of love
clinging to my foolishness.

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