Can we jolt the page into newness?
Sure: Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck! (No,
that's not it.)
Why not play with old forms and subjects?
It can work, if already, before the poem,
the page is new.
But if these hijinks are an attempt
to force newness on a tired blankness,
adrone with critical voices saying "Oh,
this stuff is a bore; I'm so hip, I'd be
the essence of hip, if snakes had hips.
Please shock me, make me twitch and seem
alive, or else put me out of my misery" --
then all our contortions are fads
in utero, born jaded, like the addicted babies
born to addicts. And drugs are apt:
One can make the morning new
by popping stimulants, but how soon
the day, thus forced, becomes deadened
and distant, a TV cartoon stared at
by a child who has nothing else worth
It sounds radical: Make the blank page
new. But it is all as old as Grandma's lace
doilies: A clean conscience makes a new day;
the only beauty we can put on a page
or bestow upon the dawn is our own.
The only beauty the reader can find
on a page is the reader's beauty.
Ditto ugliness (sorry, Reader).
The page is blank with possibilities:
What can it be given? What we can give it.
Note: Yes, I know stanza 4 is a clutter of truisms, but that's
the point: newness is not derived from laboring to be original.
On the other hand, stanza 4 begins with a less obvious point: Grandma's
lace. Lace shows blankness (the openings in the design) as adornment,
holes as definitude.