“Where, they asked, is your theory of light and color, where is your explanation of this behavior? And as in the previous case, Newton retreated behind the smokescreen of positivism. I am looking for laws, or optical facts, he replied, not hypotheses. If you ask me what “red” is, I can only tell you that it is a number, a certain degree of refrangibility, and the same is true for each of the other colors. I have measured it: that is enough.”

“It is, above all, to distance yourself from it, as Galileo pointed out; to make it an abstraction. The poet may get uncritically effusive about a red streak across the sky as the sun is going down, but the scientist is not so easily deluded: he knows that his emotions can teach him nothing substantial. The red streak is a number, and that is the essence of the matter.”

– – –

turn, verse,
and turn again
and take me away from Berman’s prosaic exposition,
back to the place
from where he led me
back before he made me gold

ignore these scenes,
the foundation to our culture’s consciousness,
the frame of my mind–wait
you can’t ignore them; instead,
start there
be led
as I am led again, this time
leading myself away from the prison cell
my mind was born into

as I attempt,
in so many words,

an ekphrasis of orgiastic color