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
(ends of sharpened feathers split
which, as a writer worked, twitched
as when a bird would scratch an itch)

We etched our hieroglyphs in night-black licks
pausing intermittently to dip the quill’s split tip
into wells candlelit in nights as black as pitch

We coaxed from shades what they might think:
we spilled their tells upon a page
by sucking spells from pots of ink.

To unmask what we thought it was about
we scribbled convoluted lines of knots.

Now we think that we’ve come far:
we scratch our licks with keyboard clicks
to spread fresh algorithmic tropes

Divining printed inkjet blots
we look to get what makes us tick
or gaze at screens of Rorschach strokes
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Jim Culleny
3/4/17

Painting by Jackson Pollock
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