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Sport 12: Autumn 1994

Facing the Empty Page

page 13

Facing the Empty Page

The empty page
looks all innocence
but has its own sense of humour.

You might decide
to call yourself Mme X, be sighted in foreign cities without
forwarding address.

The empty page will be at home, waiting.

The empty page is
the Inquisition: you could throw yourself upon it,
say, save me.

The empty page has
no heart
no home
no pity.

The empty page has heard it before
and is not impressed
by your evident sincerity

nor by your wounds. No, not even if they are
compound fractures
or call for amputation.

Don’t give the empty page any of that
colourful stuff. Between the lines
if you must.

The empty page takes
everything you can give it, still is only satisfied, if ever
for a very short time.

page 14

It is a mistake to introduce the empty page
to your prospective lover. It will spoil everything
leaving you alone, just you and the empty page, forever.

Don’t be a fool for it,
the empty page.
Take refuge in supermarkets

with two radios and a loudspeaker
playing at once.
The empty page can’t stand children’s cartoons on television

so turn up the volume.
Give the controls to a person aged less than three
who’ll be a match for it,

the empty page.
Yet neither will it be
set aside, indefinitely.

The empty page is closely related to the Great Australian

Good men, good women, died trying to cross it.
Some people find that encouraging.

The empty page
haunts the OK Corral
looking for someone, might as well be you, to gun down.

The empty page is
some people’s idea of desirable
and not unwilling

to come round for a short time to your way of thinking.
The empty page will
settle in

page 15

take your name at the bank
drink your whisky
inhabit your house

while you’ll feed on your own fingernails
wear black
suffer doubt.

The empty page will retain affection, so long as you don’t
shove it, whack it, thrash it, nail it, push it around
or make crossings out.

The empty page, it’s hell
to live with.
And to live without.