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From "Red Has No Reason" -- a poem about the nature of mathematics

My new poetry book, *Red Has No Reason*, is now available (from Plain View Press or amazon.com). Several of the poems mention math--and one of them comments on the nature of mathematics. Ideas for "A Taste of Mathematics" (below) came from a mathematics conference in San Antonio, TX (January 1993) where it was announced that the billionth digit in the decimal expansion of π is 9. Recently an amazing new calculation record of 5 trillion digits (claimed by Alexander J. Yee and Shigeru Kondo) has been announced.
** A Taste of Mathematics**
A mathematician left the convention
focused on 9, the digit that sits
in the billionth decimal place of pi,
ratio of circumference to width
of the yellow circle that parted the clouds
as she strolled down Commerce Street
to the Rio Rio Café for lunch and a beer.
On fire with jalapeños
she went shopping
for a souvenir.
She bought earrings —
red-red plastic peppers
with green stems.
She said, "Hot peppers
are like mathematics —
with strong flavor
that takes over
what they enter."
One of the poem-forms I use frequently is the square, a form going back at least to 1597, the date for a square poem by Henry Lok, honoring Elizabeth 1. The square form (a single-stanza in which the number of lines is the same as the number of syllables per line) seems to help to shape a pithy statement; see, for example, the 5x5 square in my June 9 posting, Square comment on shoe styles. Here, also from *Red Has No Reason,* is a 6 x 6 square:
More than the rapist, fear
the district attorney,
smiling for the camera,
saying that thirty-six
sex crimes per year is a
manageable number.
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