White contains all colors, all but black
(which is absence of color),
no black in the spectrum, no black where light is;
hence, Monet and most of the Impressionists
refused to include it in their palettes, arguing
that it could not be found in nature (though Degas
used it, perhaps feeling that ballet dancers, too,
could not be found in nature).
These black letters on the page -- somethings or nothings?
Rents in the page through which rayed light may pass?
Ornate slits narrow enough to break light into rainbowed aurae?
Run your finger over the page.
(I may be talking to myself, but if not, you, too,
please, run your finger over the page...ooh!
Yes, there's a page here. It has smoothness, also
texture, a light friction, a minuscule graininess.
My nail can scratch it. Scratch it lightly
with YOUR nail. Notice the sound, the scuffing noise?
What pitch is it in? Scratch it again, and see if you
can get the pitch. (If I scratch harder, the pitch
deepens. One could scratch a tune on it.)
But my ball-point pen moves across it almost
inaudibly. Was poetry different when sharp-nibbed pens
scritch-scratched out the letters?
I just remembered the fascination with which I watched
my mother dash off a note, her pen scribble-scrabbling
so quickly and surely across the page (as neatly and surprisingly
quick as a small cluster of nearly transparent crabs
I later saw scuttling aslant a Florida beach), jot jot jot,
sweep, loop, dot, cross, dart, shhjtjtchshhrfttt...
The pen sweeping away blankness to reveal
scratchy patterns, letters leaning forward, ardent,
eager to run, all a tip-toe.
Note: Stanza one originally ended with the following string of
puns (propelled by the reference to Monet:
[But not Degas, an indispensable exception, for one uses
Monet to purchase Degas to make the Van Gogh,
and if it runs out, add more of Degas to make it
Gauguin. Use all-Cezanne oil. If it still won't Gogh,
For once, I decided to under-indulge myself, but you still get
it in this note. I also, in the original, followed "rainbowed
aurae" (stanza 2) with "[But Rimbaud died unwed.] [Rainbowed
= rainbo + wed. Sorry. Not.]", but at last decided I was sorry,
yes. But I thought, as a footnote, you might feel less distracted,
yet somewhat pleased by the "wed" in "rainbow",
which sounds to my ear a lot like the French pronunciation of "Rimbaud"
(the rim of baudiness).