Scarecrow Contemplates Pi

 Scarecrow Contemplates Pi

At the moment you snipped away
my reticence, I spoke so eloquently
that even the stones wept at your
indifference. As you arranged my
pose and buttoned the shirt
around the wire and fodder
replenishing my torso, I understood
your roots and mine should never
merge: transcendental, and in
collusion with the irrational, we
circles cannot be squared. And
how must I reconcile my unheard
words? The longer I speak the
greater their magnitude – a balloon
expanding in volume retains its
ratio – one day my words will sift
through your filters and you will
at last receive them. I pull this
particular comfort close – that
patterns and frequencies and
tendencies become law, that the
fleshless and soulless, the mute
and misunderstood, the powerless,
the different, nevertheless will be
heard. But what of love? How may I
contend to feel, to know that which
is your right? A nervous system
conducts electrical and chemical
impulses, yet lacking these, my
coreless heart sags at the thought
of your departure. I am no man.
Is this truly not enough?

“Scarecrow Contemplates Pi” first appeared with two companion pieces in Eclectica in summer 2016.

With These Nine Figures

zero sign

With These Nine Figures

   … and with the sign 0…any number may be written.

                                                                 Leonardo of Pisa (Fibonacci)

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.


DRAFT: Natural Numbers


Natural Numbers

One is the instant,
part and parcel of the original.

Look, your open hand
contains all; close it,

and find infinity. God created
the natural numbers, patterns

within patterns within patterns,
shaping order. Look closely

and see wheels spinning
in sequence, drafting through

each other’s space and wind,
star matter, numbers

inside numbers, within others.
Two is the breathing, the in

and out, the pulsing, our tides
responding, a kiss, the moon’s demise

and rebirth. What rings truer
than not knowing? The cycle of

sunrise, noon and sunset gives us
Three, ever continuing, for who

defines beginnings? But what
of tomorrow? I have heard your

reply though no words were voiced,
following, as always, no matter the

result, the end. We are the
seasons. The continuum. The natural.

This is in response to a challenge issued by my friend Ron Evans, who asked me to produce a poem using three paragraphs from Dan Rockmore’s Stalking the Riemann Hypothesis: The Quest to Find the Hidden Law of Prime Natural Numbers. A few of the phrases were lifted verbatim from the selected paragraphs. This is just a draft, and the finished product may be quite different, but hey, it’s a beginning.