Thursday, November 7, 2013

Like advanced math?

One thing leads to another . .. . poet Amy Eisner connected me to mathematician Jordan Ellenberg who knew of Easy Math (Sarabande Books, 2013) by Lauren Shapiro -- and Lauren gave me permission to post her "Bent Syllogism."

 Bent Syllogism     by Lauren Shapiro

There was a pattern to the way the mythical beasts
flew over the dreary town, but we were too dreary
to understand it.  The psychologist, too, was in touch
with extraterrestrials, but she had to stand on the spire
of a church and wear 3-D glasses to see them. 

If Amy loves you, then Alice will bake a pie.
But Alice didn't bake a pie.
Therefore, moot point, no pie, no love, nothing.
They say advanced math is like music
but music isn't like advanced math -- true --
and yet all third graders in Miss Mathew's class
must learn to play the recorder.
Can't you tell the baby is extremely conflicted?
Can't you see I've lost half a pound?
I write about the polarization of grasses
and the esteemed poet writes how impressed
we are with the polarization of grasses.
Once I'm in my place I start to believe
all the postmodern theories, signs and cosines,
pi, infinity, the artist formerly known as
the artist formerly known as Prince.
I take the symbol out of my pocket, brush it off
and send it on its way.  By the time
I get to the gingerbread house I'm ready
to be fooled.  The birds twitter in the trees
and the ghost of Bambi's mother arrives,
dragging a bunch of cans behind her.
The children understand this metaphor.
They dance around in a lively pagan ritual.
I have been away for some time.
I don't speak the language any more.
Please teach me.

Hmm.  I want to think more about the comparison of  music and advanced mathematics . . . 

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