We attain from emptiness and the Sanskrit shoonya, from safira and sifr, zero.
As in unoccupied, as in void, as in what brims the homeland of null.
I once counted thirty-four black vultures orbiting my neighbor’s hill.
Despite appearing in Mayan codices, they neither sing nor cipher.
Fibonacci’s Book of the Abacus introduced the decimal system to Europe.
Regarding the tyranny of mathematics, is nothing something?
From alterity to belonging, its provenance assumes an absence of being.
Which is not to suggest xenophobia or superiority in order.
Whether depicted by empty space, wedges, or hooks, it held place.
Representation not of the object, but of its purpose, its path.
Black vultures do not smell carrion, but pillage from those that can.
Obliterative in the west wind, subtractive, unbound, they spiral.
Are the circlers in the sky symptomatic or merely symbolic?
Comparing negative infinity to its positive sister, I observe their way.
* * *
“With These Nine Figures” originally appeared, with a companion recording, in Clade Song in summer, 2013. I had asked a friend for five or six words to use in a poem. She provided tyranny, emptiness, xenophobia, pillage and at least one other that I’ve forgotten. But it wasn’t nothing.
Originally posted on SLHARPERPOETRY: Painted Chickens Twenty years ago I received a birthday gift from a close college buddy-slash-sometime lover (What on earth were we thinking?). Back then, our past was already in the past & twenty-four was already not…
The pre-publication order period for I Have a Bird to Whistle ends on February 24. I believe that there will be a small increase in price after that.
From where do these poems come?
The third poem in the chapbook, (soubasse, plenum, leaf), started with an interest in the sounds trees make when suffering from drought, and moved on to etymology, politics, questions of measurement and, as always, perception. The definitions of “plenum” were particularly illuminating, as were the origins of various units of measure, as were those sounds we sense but don’t hear, those feelings tugging at us, perhaps without our knowledge.
The book is available here to U.S. residents for $7.50, shipping included.
Non-U.S. purchasers can order it directly from me by emailing aBirdtoWhistle@yahoo.com.
Not imposition, but welcome. The way
cooperation welcomes coercion, turning the
tenor of the intended phrase, opening
the statement to interpretation, opening
a point without dissension, in the way
of politics, agreeing which fact will shape the
morning, which truth will determine the
next word and the subsequent, as if opening
the issue, claiming to have found the way,
one way, the only, but never actually opening.
* * *
A tritina might best be described as the lazy poet’s sestina, consisting of ten rather than 39 lines, with the end words of the first stanza repeating in a specific pattern in the subsequent two stanzas. The last line includes all three end words.
The last line uses the end words in sequence following the pattern of the first stanza.