In inkwell times when quills were used
(ends of sharpened feathers split
which above a writer's work twitched
as when a bird would scratch an itch)
we scratched our hieroglyphs in night-black licks
pausing intermittently to dip the split quill's end
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 ropes with knots.
We now imagine we've come far:
we scratch our licks with keyboard clicks
to spread fresh algorithmic tropes;
divining printed-circuit blots
we gaze at screens of Rorschach strokes
Painting: Jackson Pollock