Also see Stories.

1. The encounter

Written Mar 5, 2013 at the prompting of a particular Umaimah, who provided the final two words.

Sitting under a tamarind tree one Midsummer’s evening,
A shade of unconscionable measure presented itself to me.
Rubbing my eyeballs to verify it was not an experience counterfeit,
Its permanence made it clear I’d have to rub my eyeballs with it.

Slowly the phantom morphed, untouched by conformality,
Its edges’ angles twisted in an elegant brutality,
Quickening its pace placidly, the figure self-inverted,
About an axis whose understanding can be only called perverted.

Among its many features one struck me as particularly singular,
The edges of its form met in quartet perpendicular!
I tried to capture the specter in the confines of my hands
But undisturbed it passed right through the material of our lands.

Without parallel, my normal decor
Lost an inhabitant of exotic R4.

2. The square root of two: irrational

Written Jan 12, 2009 after an IAP Math Lecture Series lecture about treating mathematical writing as a literary genre. I’ve read this at a tEp rush event I’ve run the past few years called Dramatic Proof Reading.

having area two,
a square has side length measure
unlike a ratio.

a ratio walks in.
I am he, the side’s measure
completely with form.

square yourself, ratio.
if you are the answer then,
two is your area.

righteously, he grins
double his bottom square is
a square of his head.

behold! it is fine!
I am the ratio you want
do not test me more.

his head is even
for, when squared, it is even,
ponders the side length.

his head is too full
he be cut down the middle
and he be my length

the mask he now wears
is transparent. Imposter,
may you be banished,

that none of your ilk,
your infinitude of form
ever try to be

as length of a square.
infinitely halving is
impossibly whole

be gone forever
as your head cannot be whole
and nor your bottom.

3. Spoon River Anthology

These were meant to be poems in the spirit of the Spoon River Anthology when we read it in Spring 2006.

Ellis Stanton
I lived a life of fun and games
Going to parties
Then I died
I feel bad
I had accomplished nothing.

Evan Summers
I was a concert pianist
playing music for hours every day
never ceasing
Carpal tunnel plagued me
I lived the rest of my life
enjoying others’ music
I gave and gave, then I got.
Then a piano fell from a crane.
I died.