2 March 2004 | Vol. 4, No. 1

Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer

At first there was nothing:

just audiences whacked mouth-dumb

at talking pictures, Jolson singing.

His face put black in black and white:

white around eyes, near lips, white

gloves. Blackening for effect

the black filmstrip before its white

light. The blacks of his eyes

widening, inching toward

the delicate cream. And the voice: