Blots

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There’s a meaningless inkblot, and the others ask you what you think
you see, but when you tell them, they start arguing with you!
……………………………………………………. —Richard Feynman, physicist
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Jackson Pollack

In inkwell times when quills were used
(the ends of sharpened feathers split
which, while a writer worked, twitched
as when a bird would scratch an itch).

We etched our hieroglyphs in night-black licks
pausing intermittently to dip a quill’s split tip
into wells as black as pitch (but candlelit) 
and coaxed from shades what they might think.

We spilled their tells upon a page
by sucking spells from pots of ink;
to unseal what we thought it was about
we scribbled convoluted knots in doubt.

Now we think that we’ve come far
as we play our licks in keyboard clicks
and spread fresh algorithmic tropes.

Divining printed inkjet blots we still hope 
to get at what it is that makes all tick.
We gaze at screens of Rorschach strokes
unraveling doubt in instant bits. . .

Jim Culleny
3/4/17

Painting by Jackson Pollock
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