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The Page Remains Blank

by Jibunnessa 

Posted: 13 February 2008
Word Count: 199

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The page remains blank

Despite the staring at reflections
Of windows and brickwork
Drenched in sunlight.

Despite the boots and trainers
Stomping across
The pavement

Despite the vibrant colours,
The clinking of spoons
On coffee cups.
The relics of ineffectual chimney stacks.

Despite the cacophony of thoughts
My mind,
The visual metaphors
That used to grow
From verbal seeds
The air
Before me.

Despite the ibuprophen tablets
Handed over
On a white plate.

Despite the banter
Desert mopeds
And the questions
That tease out
Your excellence.

Despite the smiles
And the melted cheese
In salt and pepper
With the rapid
Machine-gun fire
Of Czech

Despite the implausibility
Lecherous men
In distant bazaars,
And the
Sweet-faced lips
Drenched in
Flesh-eating demons.

Despite the full-body tattoos
With knives
Dripping blood,
And the frozen burials
Divided by three tongues.

Despite the secrets shared
And the tesserae
Human words

Despite the ripping apart of pastry
And the ripping apart
Of thin membranes
Beneath my feet

Despite the softly coating
Silent aromas


The page

---Jib, 2:08pm, 09 Feb. 08, Camden Costa, in my favourite spot.

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Comments by other Members

rebecca at 08:57 on 14 February 2008  Report this post
I am not knowledgeable about poetry but I found this engaging and insightful.

Reading the last line about sitting in Costa I was transported to that familiar world of sitting with a little precious time to write but nothing to say!!



Or should I say - not knowing where to *start*!


James Graham at 18:43 on 15 February 2008  Report this post
I’m struck by the irony of this poem. Here are all these ideas and images, many of them very striking and open to all kinds of meaning - yet the page is blank. The poem’s very existence is ironic. The more interesting and varied the ideas are, the sharper the irony.

This is what makes the poem so interesting and brings it to life. ‘The visual metaphors/ That used to grow/ From verbal seeds’ are clearly still growing. But in some other sense, the page is still blank.

It begins with ‘ordinary’ things close to home, the view from the window, people passing outside, then a personal section suggesting all is not well - ‘cacophony of thoughts’ and ibuprophen. But then it moves on to glimpses of foreign places - travelling in the desert on mopeds; eating at a café perhaps, with Czechs (not necessarily in the Czech Republic); ‘distant bazaars’, and a scary-sounding place where there are tattooed men with knives. These could be snapshots of actual places visited, or they could be all in the mind - it doesn’t matter, they’re fascinating and evoke clear pictures. Impressions through other senses too: ‘stomping’ feet, ‘clinking of spoons’, ‘machine-gun fire’ of Czech speech (I know some Czechs, and that’s my impression too), and the best of all your non-visuals, ‘Despite the softly coating/ Dust/ Of/ Silent aromas’.

But the page remains blank. In this way the poem leaves us with questions. What does the poem’s speaker mean? Maybe that none of the things written about in the poem is important, or none of them is important enough. Maybe they grab attention, maybe they’re even memorable, but they’re not close to the heart of things. The heart of things, or at least something deeper than anything in the poem, is what she really wants to write about. This page isn’t blank, but another page is - the blank page that is waiting for the (as yet) unwritten poem.

If the poem were full of humdrum stuff it wouldn’t work. Its vitality comes from the voice telling us in highly inventive language about what seem to be adventurous, exotic experiences, yet at the same time telling us, ‘None of this is enough. Nothing here represents a real insight.’ That’s what I mean by the irony of the poem, and I think that’s its strength.


Jibunnessa at 12:42 on 16 February 2008  Report this post
Hi James

So glad you like the poem so much.

It's probably better though if I don't explain anything - leave it all to each reader's imagination.

Thanks again.


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