Voice of the Empty Notebook
Poems from Voice of the Empty Notebook:
The Empty Notebook and Denial
The empty notebook is
terrified of coffee rings,
which remind it of mortality.
Likewise the smell of burnt toast,
the sound of anything being torn.
The empty notebook obsesses
over rocks, scissors, fire.
The empty notebook practices
denial, seeks relative safety in
the shelf’s monastic life. It strips
down to essentials: coffee cup,
pencil, cough drop. It yearns
to slam itself open to tango, samba
paso doble, cha-cha-cha. When
a baritone sax plays salsa dura,
it writhes and breaks its bindings.
The Empty Notebook Interrogates Itself
The empty notebook wonders
about existence. It wants to
know how blank space can fill
a void, how emptiness can be
a burden. When a page detaches
itself, the empty notebook feels
pain ruffle its edges. The empty
notebook thinks emptiness contains
something more than nothing, but
is filled with possibility, with longing,
with the urge to start from scratch.
A Mystery, or How the Empty Notebook Lost its Freedom
The Empty Notebook in Prison
Dogs are barking.
The empty notebook flinches,
stripped of its cover, stacked
on a pile, wired and heated,
hoodwinked and prodded,
it hears screams with flickers
of laughter. A smirk rounds
the corner and raps on the bars
with an automatic weapon.
Fizzle and crack of electroshock
static rakes the frail air
while sweet rot staunches
the empty notebook’s resolve
to quench empty questions
with meaningless answers.
Time to take notes. Time to spill
guts. Time for the tearing of fresh
spiral bindings. The empty notebook
quivers in its pile of notebooks,
trying to stay hidden, trying to stay
blank. Bared teeth. The empty
notebook lets go of its margins,
insists on beginning again.
Advice from the Empty Notebook
Never be the empty notebook.
Never flutter on the line, lifeless
in a back lot like laundry, not like
a starling strangled in the branches.
Never be erasable, never blink,
never stare soulless out of bloodshot
sockets at grackles perching on
fence posts, cackling over the
muddy gutters. Don’t sing about
not knowing, not seeing. Never
unlearn the whistling spark that
shreds the air to splatter the cosmos.
The point of saying vanishes.
It mistakes itself for vision, but
don’t believe it for a minute. Pretend
a durable satisfaction. Pretend it will
not break. Pretend you do not fester;
are not pokeweed, or a pincushion.
Not intergalactic dust. Not a dying star.
Pretend you are not a black hole.