I used to work in a movie theatre that didn't hire unionized projectionists, thus any trustworthy employee could be trained to run the projectors. I spent a lot of time up in the booth--an eerie place where the white noise of running films made it impossible to hear someone approaching from down the long corridor. When all six shows were running, all the work lights were off, and the only light came from the burning bulbs of the projectors themselves.

This sounds like the opening of a ghost story; it isn't. This is about discovering a small piece of poetry inadvertantly created within a manual full of technical terms. Posted on the wall was a laminated checklist sheet of errors and problems for projectionists to look out for. I generally didn't give it more than a passing glance, but boredom caused my eyes one night to alight upon the words and read. What caught my attention first was the name of the problem: travel ghost. Its description, however, was built of equally haunting words:

"Bleeding bright image areas
into adjacent darker image areas."

Those wanting a clearer description, read on. This is from the Kodak Glossary of Motion Picture Terms: "A condition that arises when the projector shutter is not properly timed. On the screen, light areas produce "ghosts" that extend above or below adjacent dark areas, depending on whether the shutter is late or early."

I realize my judgement of that first description as poetic is purely subjective. But then, that's poetry.

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