Blank

This is a poem about the problem faced by writers when trying to produce something to meet a deadline – the blank paper becomes a challenge or a barrier to be overcome.

The shuffled-in seat creaks

Chosen pen poised, black ink
Scrap paper scribble scrunched
Broad nibbed blotter doodles
Stark crisp paper stares back
Offers nothing, not a jot
fresh ideas gone stale
and the clock
The clock ticks, always ticking

Its not too hard, just words
Five thousand, just numbers
Use smaller words for speed
Big numbers, little words
Less to write, less to think
and the clock ticks

Nothing doing zip, nada, zilch
uninspired brain empty
Changes wrung
A different pen fine nibbed
Washable blue for black
Different paper lined feint
Pastel blue or beige
and the clock ticks, always ticking

Knowing just what to say
Wondering how to say it
A title perhaps, or
“Introduction”
“Introduction” wrote big, stares back
Challenging and strong
Condensed intimidation by
A single bloody word
And the clock ticks

One more armchair coffee
Bourbon biscuits nibbled
Ginger nuts dunked
Cold water splashed face
Cool fresh air under
Unhelpful darkening skies
Words evaded, delayed
The clock ticks, always ticking

Two more words, together
“The End”
Start and finish found
How to stretch the middle?
For four thousand
nine hundred and
ninety seven words
“The End” stares back
The clock ticks

Willfully blank blank paper stares
past cereal bowl remains
light through still drawn curtains
and the clock ticks
A non-writing writer
Stares back
Blinks
And the clock
ticks
Always ticking