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The Ultimate Antientropy
Theodore Weiss

``Unity is plural and at minimum two.''
—R. Buckminster Fuller

Whether one paints five Helens
after some much experienced woman
or develops one, his beau ideal,
from the five, most lovely, untouched
virgins of Crotona (such Cicero's
account of Zeuxis' purist practice)
or laboriously patches her together
cheek by jowl out of all the women
he has shuffled through, is not
their end the same?
So even he
who will not let the name of Helen,
or woman for that matter, be attached
to what he splotches on the canvas,
refusing to be tamed by recognition—
for he claims he paints a painting,
not a landscape, apples, females—
deems he's plucked from out his head-
long brain and brush a universal
as it is a most unique,
past any momentary model. And though
we may wish to celebrate the fleeting
or applaud the theory as it lords it
over its bleak and boring product,
Zeus, we recall, laid all (this every
time) his eggs in one small basket;
the consequence, in the most famous
case, was a Helen who inherited
her papa's quality
most jovial:
being so promiscuous, so radiant-
ly loose, that we have hardly seen
the last of her. The sparks her eyes
shot forth are seeds that will not die.
Men far flung still warm their hands,
their hearts, and more at the thought
of her as at the Troy the flint
of flesh against the tinder of a god
Helen, it seems, is more
herself the more she's reproduced.

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