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I can only wonder what Nabokov was thinking
a half smile in front of that motel or maybe
Spassky before game six. Let's not bother
with such nonsense, I'll play the Tartakower
defense. What can he achieve? »But I must say
it shocked me, shocked me greatly, and disposed
me at the time to read a hideous meaning into
everything that followed« The open nature of
the campaign, the necessary restructuring of the mind.
I'd like to turn it off, the wretched dripping of the water,
the proximity to a yawning tap--but it's not the manner of the
information it's the method of the aggregate on the other end.
The time a stranger across a bar slipped me a note on a napkin,
a graceless riddle on whether the carpet matched the drapes
(nescient advice to no one) as if he'd exposed some penetrating mystery
about my person when all I had planned for the night was to drink
whiskey from a wobbly stool; the hawkish problem every alcoholic faces in the
watering holes of these great States, a conversation where was none was invited.


(I could have gone into detail of course—another ironic or screwy point—
that he could never see I had been doing a generous favour all along,
the mere drinking of the drink, the clouding of a dream.)

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