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Page 214

I just opened the window -- crisp October air.
And I thought, this next page should start with "Early autumn" --
something about bare trees and blank pages or brown leaves
and old, sere pages...at which point it occurred to me
(with a giddy sense of freedom) that I don't have to write
about autumn; I don't have to convert this tingling air
into blank page metaphors. Hell, I don't have to write
about blank pages or even fill blank pages with words.
(The only air here on the page is spelled a-i-r. You can't
breathe it. [You can b-r-e-a-t-h-e it.])

But this is art: It's not just freedom. Freedom alone
is no game. We need barriers, too. (Welcome to my
great barrier riff.) The pen must be stopped
by a page (or some smooth, yet absorptive surface)
for writing to occur. We want forms to pervade with our freedom,
a trellis for our vines. We want freedom to savor
the limits of our forms. I decided to fill a book of blank pages
with poems (or reflections or smirks or riffs...) on
blank pages. And, for a moment, I thought this one
would begin with early autumn:

Each season is a form to express freedom. There's freedom
in budding, burgeoning out in an endless plenitude of forms --
spring, of course. (It makes my coarser springs creak.)
And early spring -- those tightly coiled buds: That's a kind
of freedom too, like the invulnerability of a pubescent boy
swinging before a mirror to enjoy the taut heft
of his newly discovered hard-on -- and, girls, when your
nipples first harden, do you think, "Is this, too, me?" --
isn't this a kind of freedom -- to be hard, indomitable,
ready to flower?

Note: While eschewing the obvious links (in an autumn day) to the blank-page theme, this poem seems to stumble on other links. Each season is a freedom, based on a barrier. Is the blank page a barrier or a freedom in the game of poetry?

I hope you didn't miss the Great Barrier Reef, lurking in line 3 of stanza 2.

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