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Page 40

No critics, none, no response at all.
A few books sold to friends and family,
applause at a few readings, but no louder
than for the other readers (whom he'd
never heard of before and whose names,
already, he's forgotten, their books,
politely traded for his, shelved or boxed,
unread or glanced through out of a cursory
sense of duty). The curse of polite applause,
the usual response, which is no response at all.

No the blank page is not blank, but indifferent,
busy with other matters of its own.
The poet feels he must shock the page,
tickle it, somehow attract its attention.
The poet is a middle child, the page
a distracted parent. There is no reader there.
The poet must kidnap a reader and force him
to be there or seize the page and force it
to be the reader.

It is a noisy world. The poet must impinge.
Anything to create an effect. But everything
the poet can think of to do is just more ink
on a blank page. Nothing, no shape of ink,
no contortion of words, seems enough,
all writing merely the reduction of mental
thunder and lightning to inky silence.
Why bother the blank page?

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