Voices and Verses

National Poetry Month: “This Page Is Left Intentionally Blank” By Mike Alexander

The Houston poet reads a poem written in the form of a ballade.


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“Poetry is part of the magic of being human.” – Poet Mike Alexander

In this sound portrait, Mike Alexander talks about his love of formal poetry and how poetry connects us through the ages, and he reads his ballade, "This Page Is Left Intentionally Blank."

Mike Alexander was born in New York City and came to Houston in 1996. He has published work in magazines such as Atlanta Review, New Orleans Review, The Texas Review, The Texas Observer, The Raintown Review, River Styx, Measure and Rattle, as well as in several online journals. Alexander was on the board of Mutabilis Press from 2010-2015 and has been active in Public Poetry since 2011. Additionally, he has served as a Contributing Editor for Lyric Poetry Review and has been on staff at the Panhandler. His book Retrograde was published in 2013. Alexander currently organizes POETRY FIX, a reading series on Tuesday nights at FIX Coffeebar.

This Page Is Left Intentionally Blank

Here's something sure to peak your interest,
an option tailored to your expertise,
an opportunity you can invest
your patrimony in, may it increase
tenfold – a venture into currencies,
with your shares cut directly from the flank
of an authenticated Golden Fleece.
This page is left intentionally blank.

In no time, you'll be feathering your nest
aboard a yacht along the coast of Greece;
you'll pick your lovers from among the best;
you'll rent a villa just outside of Nice;
withdraw the necessary funds from Credit Suisse,
or your offshore accounts, your piggy bank;
be careless of the snares in your sublease.
This page is left intentionally blank.

Your future furnishings, all will be blessed
with marigolds & gilded fleur de lys,
which you will purchase as a family crest;
indulge your most ridiculous caprice,
a dancing fountain that plays Für Elise,
a full Olympic pool sized goldfish tank
in which your Koi can grow to be obese.
This page is left intentionally blank.

But bear in mind, there will be casualties
to bury, mercenaries still to thank;
only the cruelest fool would promise peace.
This page is left intentionally blank.


This poem was published by The Orchards Poetry Journal and is reprinted with permission by the author.

To learn more about this series, go here.


Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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