Thursday, November 12, 2009

After Math


If x is made
and y is miss;
bedeviled by
Pythagoras

speed plus you
reflecting me -
a hapless heart’s
velocity

subtracting promise
with a kiss -
the algebra
of lonesomeness

fractals formed
by each percent;
the
Weierstrass of
our discontent

algorithmic
imprecision
squarely rooted
long division

slipping slowly
by degrees -
our misaligned
geometries

If x is break
and y is bliss;
I never could
pass calculus.

11 comments:

Sarah Hina said...

This is so much my thing. I've always harbored a secret affection for math-inspired metaphor and reflection. Not because I'm good at math. But because I know that there is a purity and mysterious meaning to be found in higher mathematics that I just can't grasp in the brambles of all those variables.

I love how you've placed math in the context of a relationship here. The ultimate equation, struggling for a solution that is off by the smallest of fractions. I think my favorite lines were:

speed plus you
reflecting me -
a hapless heart’s
velocity


There's something so poingnant and powerful about taking the very precise, the highly rational, inserting the human heart, and coming up with disorder and loss. The spectrum of humanity is contained within this poem--how much we want to explain, and understand, and how much still slips through our fingers.

Wonderful, Joaquin. I loved this one . . . exponentially. :)

Julie said...

I'm not a number person, either (shocking but true), but I do love your words. There's an equilibrium to the lines that feels mathematical, and I'm very impressed by that beat. My favorite stanza is:

"subtracting promise
with a kiss -
the algebra
of lonesomeness"

That is so true. There was a movement of mathematical poets during my old school daze, and I learned to love what they could do with words and formula. Your poem is better than any of those, because it has heart and soul. Beautiful work.

Nevine said...

There is a brilliant grip on language, here. Your plays on words are amazing. I find particularly intriguing:

algorithmic
imprecision
squarely rooted
long division

Squarely rooted long division is a complicated concept, but it is real, in the worlds of both general mathematics and the mathematics of human emotion.

I come away from reading this with a metaphysical aftertaste on my palate, something higher than the mere lingering of words upon a tongue or in the mind.

Nevine

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

This is so cleverly written! I wish I had been able to read it on Thursday. :( Friday morning I gave a math strategies presentation and this would have been a great ice-breaker!!!

Ah, my favorite stanza is Julie's too:
subtracting promise
with a kiss -
the algebra
of lonesomeness

You could write a poem about anything, Joaquin. ;)

Karen said...

Getting here after Sarah, Julie, and Kaye is like coming to the party without my party dress! They've said it all so eloquently that I can only echo them and say that you are incredible!

We all seem to like the same lines, but I'd wager that we like them all nearly equally!

silly unicorn said...

for me this after math thing sounds a little like regrets.

what for? /:)

Aniket said...

If you don't follow xkcd already, you must give it a look here:

http://www.xkcd.com/162/

He is an inspiration for all us geeks.
This poem goes right up there in the league.

BloggerMouth said...

I suddenly like Math a little bit more.

"f x is break
and y is bliss;
I never could
pass calculus"

Loved those lines. Only you can write like you do. I have to keep inventing ways of telling you you're brilliant I think... This one is just intellectual on so many different levels.

Jannie Funster said...

A third commenter here for the algebra of lonesomeness verse. That line, can a line be more indicative of lonesomeness??

You know Joni Mitchell's "Electricity" from her Blue album? This poem of yours speaks as well lyrically.

joaquin carvel said...

sarah - i'm with you - i think the nature of math facinates me because i don't understand it. thank you - i realy like "The ultimate equation" - that's what it is, i think. (i'm so glad you used "exponentially" - i wanted it in the poem but it didn't work out.)

julie - me neither - i just admire them. i've never heard of a "movement of mathematical poets" - which sounds interesting and scary - but i always take "heart and soul" as the highest compliment. thank you!

nevine - wow - thank you. i'm glad to know that squarely rooted long division is an actual math concept - i didn't - but love when something inadvertant makes me look smart. or conjures a "metaphysical aftertaste" - which is amazing - thank you again.

k - do you know how great it is that you would even think of kicking off a math presentation with a poem? i love that! thank you.

karen - no dress code here - just glad you dropped in. thank you!

su - hmmmm....gonna make me think this through, huh? ;) i don't think it's regret about anything that happened, but maybe some regret in not being able to say why - maybe it's not so much getting the answer wrong as it is finding out you don't really know how to work the problem.

aniket - thank you for turning me on to this guy! he's awesome! (same leauge? wow - thank you.)

bm - like math a bit more? :) now that is a compliment! thank you.

jannie - probably, but if you can't think of one - and (holy cow) if it made you think of joni mitchell - i'll just say a very humble thanks.

GoGo said...

very nice.