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Page 30

Perhaps we are all critics, infatuated
with the blankness, our excuse to create nothing
while waiting for the blank page to answer us.

To be trapped is to be free of responsibility,
for one cannot help oneself. So where there is
no blank page, we create one; for example,
you can create gaps on this page ("page gap" --
a palindrome); you can white out my ink

as you read, degrade my cleverest reasoning
to footling flippancy, set all my clarifying crinoid
asterisks afloat (feathery schools of comatulids,
unanchored to footnotes), reduce my most
delicate qualifications -- but is this qualification?
No, it is epanorthosis! -- reducing them
to a uniform mush.

The words are there, you've just read them, and yet
I'm sure that if you trouble yourself to look up
in a reasonably complete dictionary the words
(not mere music after all) "footling," "crinoid,"
"comatulid" and "epanorthosis," you will
discover on this page words, perhaps entire
sentences, that weren't there on first reading;

and some unexpected apparitions may greet you
if you study and apply each definition of, for example,
"of" and "to".

You, reader, can become a threat to pandemic

Note: I wrote that more than a year ago – and I've forgotten what "epanorthosis" means. Words – use ‘em or lose ‘em. Anyhow, for those allergic to dictionaries (but you wouldn't be here with me if you were), "footling" means "trifling", "silly and unimportant". "Crinoid" means "lily-like" and also designates small, flower-shaped marine animals. A "comatulid" is a "free-swimming animal related to the starfish," and means, literally, "having hair neatly curled". "Epanorthosis" is not an inflamation of the north pan. It is, rather, the vehement substitution of one word (the correct or more exact word) for a preceding word, as, for example, in stanza 3, above, where I create an epanorthosis by substituting "epanorthosis" for "qualification".

But do check your dictionary. The derivation of "footling" is worth your trouble.

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