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Page 37

The poet begins to feel the blank page
is dangerous because of what he may say
or fail to say, what the most tenuous thread
of blackness may contain or fail to contain,
what unintended hidden monsters may be unleashed,
what cherished life may languish on unturned pages
or be lost to inattentive winds.

The poet begins to stare at the blankness
and ask himself, "What, after all, do I have
to say?" Then he waits for an answer,
for surely the blank page -- as full of danger
as he knows it to be (and danger implies
power, and power implies knowledge)
must hold answers. The poet tries
various solutions -- methods, not of communicating
via writing, but of prodding the page
for answers: He tries to write any old thing,
keep the pen moving, riff on nonsense words,

anything to "get the juices flowing." He tries
"Automatic writing," guided by "the spirits" or
the "Unconscious". He tries to be a hunter,
tracking down the feral poem. He tries to be
exquisite, releasing words to the page
one by one after rolling each on the tongue
like a wine taster.

The more solutions he attempts, the more solid
and impervious becomes the blankness of the page.
He can no longer see or imagine you, Dear Reader,
on the other side (and he grows as obscure to you).
He forgets to put you there to be talked to:

"Don't bother me, reader -- I have this blank page
to deal with." And no longer creating a reader,
he has no reader, his words piling up
unread, filling his head with their ghostly
moans, the rising cost of unsold inventory.
The blank page stares at him, as implacable
as an IRS accountant.

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