Friday, September 15, 2017

Love Triangle . . ..

     One day, looking online for Edwin Abbott's 19th century classic, Flatland, I found not only Abbott's tale but some poetry.  At the website of Jerome White, a New Orleans math teacher, I found his mathy poem "Love Triangle," about which White says:    "Love Triangle" was inspired by my disappointment that Flatland: A Romance In Many Dimensions was deceptively devoid of "romance" in the modern sense of the word. 
     With White's permission, here is the poem -- offered with a preparatory remark:  the poet is sometimes explicit as he describes the geometry of sexual attraction.

Love Triangle      by  Jerome A. White

A trio of three-sided polygons sprawled across
the two-dimensional space of my notebook page
capturing my singular focus

The one on the left I tried to seduce
Only to find her obliquely obtuse
Her oversized angle symbolic
of the diverging vectors our lives would follow    

The one on the right I could hardly dispute
Her compact form was indeed acute
But like her intelligence quotient, to put it quite kindly
Like the degrees of her angles, did not surpass ninety

This prosaic pair left me noncommittal
Until I laid eyes on the one in the middle
Instantly I knew, enthralled at first sight
The only word to describe her was “Right”

There she lay, openly displayed
In perfect alignment with the sides of my page
Ninety degrees of separation between her legs
Meeting at a corner like intersecting traffic
Her 2D projection was orthographic

Miss Right glanced my way, I tried not to react
With rightness of angle held wholly intact
Like a topological peep show she began to contort
Stretching one leg long with the other one short
And as much as her splendidly erect posture
embodied geometric perfection
Even when two of her sides were positive and whole
the third was most often irrational
Yes Pythagoras gave her life it was clear to see
But her mathematical daddy… Well that would be me!

Or so I imagined

I sharpened my 3D gaze on the 2D page
studying her form from afar
Mesmerized by her acrobatic contortions
Admiring the values of her pleasing proportions
Opposite on top of hypotenuse
Adjacent on top of hypotenuse
Opposite on top of adjacent
I envisioned her on top of me
Now that’s some sweet trigonometry

One ratio after another I dared not stop her
Just like those fractions I felt so improper
Voyeuristically exploring her SOHCAHTOA orgy
I longed to leap into my notebook
spreading thin and wide into the flatness of the page
entering her world
where our trans-dimensional love affair would
coalesce with a kiss
eternally joined in Euclidian bliss

I’d gladly relinquish my third dimension
Just for the chance to earn her attention
And should fate compel her to turn me loose
I’d hang myself with her hypotenoose
In my demise maintaining pride
content with just once having hung by her side

But I shall not receive this opportunity
Instead I’m faced with reality
She lives firmly in 2D while I’m stuck here in three
where I still yearn for this love triangle every night
I’m too deep for her world, but she’s still Miss Right

White's "Love Triangle" is available here on YouTube and here is a link to Jerome White performing a You-Tube version of "Sinusoidal Curve -- A Mathematical Love Poem."

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