is white space.
The lines tell the story.
The gaps give you space to figure it out.
From high school and university “explications,” I got the idea that literature was obscure and confusing. That writers deliberately wrote in layers to be picked apart.
Then Mrs. Shugart introduced me to allegory. I learned about layers and metaphors reading Mask of the Red Death and somewhere in there my reworked song lyrics (what I called poems then) and cleverly (to me anyway) named fictive characters (one of my favorites was Raisin; another was Chevrolae) became secrets to be revealed after removing layers of imagery and innuendo. Them sisters would never again know of my penchant for shelltoe Adidas with fat laces; the damage those “hey little girl’s” from said desirables did to pre-pubescent ego.
Peeling those layers away, leaving something tangible, literal and not a really cool image was providing what one of my poetry professors called, a foundation for the house of the poem and eventually revealed what Dr. Gayles had told me about the gaps. Everything is (and has to be) there–if you want a reader. Nobody is trying to buy a book of poetry to do work with it; entertainment is not that.
So trust me, I am not hiding anything in my art, my writing most specifically, any more than when it was layered in imagery. It is all there. Pause in the white space and you’ll see that you get it after all.
Okay so maybe I would rather people not pause because that art is my heart and soul on Front Street, y’all! Yeeks!