Outer Game Contribution

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Before the Rules
Posted by JLoPresti on July 21, 2002 at 20:13:54:

Before the Rules

“Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
By constantly greater beings.” Rilke

Winning in this world isn’t the juicy fruit
We wait for to drop into our laps.
To win is such small recreation,
A dry shell empty of its salty life
A detached hand clenched around brown stubble.

In another world…
We learn by embracing what is growing large within us.
We learn by hearing what is barely audible to the gypsy moth.
We learn by seeing what is visible only to the dead
whose eyes are dry pools of deep red light
Like the flesh of the black cherry bitten at its ripest.
We win when we acknowledge what is moving in herds under the scalp;
Slow moving beasts that live to serve no one, to merely drink
What is offered in perfect composure.
We win by flushing out many thousands of birds, blue, black, and red
From our mouths as the beat of their wings,
The furious delight of their weightless bodies,
Leave a distinct trail of decency and respect for the world-weary.
Like a frozen waterfall in another world, still yet moving,
We win by losing, by giving back and up what was never ours to begin with,
Borrowed from the sea, a weed, a bone, or from bread.
We win and lose by returning, as the dead do, to the beginning;
before the rules,
before chosen words,
before all that has value.

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