Communication Gap
by Jim Murdoch

I thought I had nothing left,
nothing to communicate,
nothing really worth sharing.

The words keep on coming though
sounds without any meaning
and that leaves the two of us

here staring at each other,
barely a poem apart—
but what an immense chasm

that is turning out to be.

by Jim Murdoch

Writers are afraid of the truth.
It’s impossible to work with,

it’s not malleable;
truths are like lumps of rock.

You can chisel away and you
might reveal this great work of art.

More than likely though you’ll
just get rock and more rock,

probably not even the kind
with a message through the middle.


Jim Murdoch is a Scottish writer living just outside Glasgow.  In the
seventies and eighties his poems appeared regularly in the small press
magazines that were legion at the time.  By the nineties, though, he
had allowed himself to become disillusioned and stopped sending
stuff out.  He didn’t stop writing, however, but moved on to novels
and short stories in that order.  Strange, he knows.  Since Murdoch
has come out of hiding he’s had poetry published most recently in
Origami Condom, Caffeine Destiny, and Ink, Sweat and Tears.  
Two short stories appeared in
Ranfurly Review in March 2008, and
his novel
Living with the Truth was published in May.

On “Communication Gap” and “Petrified Poem”:
I have always been fascinated with the poetic process, what
exactly is communicated between the poet and the reader and
how.  The reader is looking for some kind of truth and yet all
poets have to work with are lies (i.e. fiction).  But what if a poet
doesn’t even have those?  What if he’s firing blanks?  Or as
John Cage might have put it: “I have nothing to say and I'm
saying it.”  The reader looks and looks but sometimes there’s
nothing there but the shell of a poem and yet the reader keeps
on looking.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 3, Number 2
(Fall 2008)

Copyright © 2008
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.
Petrified Poem