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Page 227

If you're staring at a blank page, raise your hands.
What! No one? That's a hard one. I can write,
sensibly, "This is a page" or "This is a page with
words on it?" I can claim, arguably, that "this
is a poem." But if I write, "This is a blank page"...?

The blank page can't say "here I am" or "now
I am blank." Nor (unless you've inherited
my old notebooks) does it entirely make sense to say
that when you "now" look at a blank page,
we are both looking at the same blank page, both
NOT saying, mentally, the same words. I suppose,
looking at blank pages, our minds drift their separate ways,
each wandering in and out of its own collection of nows,
nouns and renowns.

I suppose if, looking at blankness, we each looked blankly,
filled up with nothing but that pure potential, earlier
than early spring, the germ of the bud, the potential POP!
(and Mom) of creation (creation being a bomb-and-pop
busyness), the nothing about to become something –
at that instant (too skinny for fat words), we share
that most trivial of nows, that now that is eternal.

(Trivial – from tri [tri, tri again] plus via, a meeting
of three roads, where we riffraff exchange
small news, complaints about aching feet, bad crops
and lousy weather; but eternity out-trivializes trivia,
being omnivial: where ALL roads cross –
on their way to roam.)

Eternity is the great now that is haunted
by the great now-what? (Ahab? Kept awake and
keenly on edge [but not edgeWISE] by his first mate:
the coffee-driven Starbuck!)

I don't like the word "eternal": Come on, God,
tell us another story. I don't WANT to go to sleep!

(Will God, like some daddies, be fooled, or pretend
to be fooled, if, at the threat of sleep, we say
"And then...? What happened next"?)

(But this book will end – very soon, too.)

(Unless you start over. Unless we start over.)

Note: In stanza two, I say we can't rationally say "now we are both looking at the same blank page" unless "you have inherited my old notebooks". This alludes to the fact, mentioned in an earlier poem, that I used to write with soft (#2) pencil in my poetry notebooks, so later found the pages smeared almost to blankness (recidivist blankness). So if one of those pages "says" that author and reader were looking at the same blank page, that may come true.

In stanza 5 I must be missing a pun. I don't know how I got from "the great now-what" to Ahab, hunting for the white whale, his first mate not coffee driven, but named Starbuck, so doomed to suggest coffee to our generations. I do get that Ahab is edgy (and out to harpoon Moby Dick), but not so wise in his edginess. I guess just the idea of someone haunted by and hunting the great something brought the great white whale into it.

The last two lines MIGHT be taken to refer to death not being the end if we can choose to move on to other lifetimes. But one doesn't need to die in order to start over. (Always glad to give you an out, you folks who think you are some body.)

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