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My Edits

Everything I say sounds like spaghetti
On a white shirt
Or Picasso reading a Robert Frost
Porno—all the words
I say from the way
You look at me
And think of falling
Or going to Virginia
And taking the kids
And telling me things:
“I’m not attraction to you anymore.”

Well, I could do the same
I could choose this tie
This way to hold you
Before myself

     

Poem about Math

Most of my friends are numbers
43, 38, 26, 73, 19
Boom—you won the lottery

So I have a lot of friends now
Most of whom, as I said, are numbers
What I really like about numbers

Is what I really like about friends
You can put them together
Subtract them, multiply, divide

They can be rational
Or irrational, variables
Or become infinite

Even imaginary!
My first imaginary number
Came in darkness

I was practicing word problems
For four hours a day
At a secondhand desk

On the second floor
Of our apartment in
Lawrenceville, New Jersey

When I suddenly realized:
This is not math
This is love

Moreover, I have come
To understand that 1+1
Equals inequality

That numbers are often
At odds with one another
For the sake of their own

Perseveration: this
This is how words can suddenly
Help us fill up a loss

Orwell said 2 plus 2 is 5
Dostoevsky said 2 times 2 is good
Nietzsche said 1 divided by 1 does not exist

And yet despite all the odds
Or, rather, along with them
I find such pleasant evens

And it is the combination of these
The ways in which they gather
And associate, as if at a party

With Steven, that renews
My faith in, if nothing else
Myself = fraternity

     

In the Catbird Seat

In the catbird seat
I sit, waiting
For a sign

If I were more patient
I could design a new
Dime, one with a portrait
Of the world the way
I want it and a portrait of
The person who put me here:
Mrs. Ellis, my first grade teacher
Who taught me to say “apple”
But I am not that patient

Instead, I look over my laundry
List of complaints. High on the list
Is my forehead; towards the middle
My dissatisfaction and hatred
Of all of humanity, and last but
Not least, second-hand smoke

If I were more patient, I could
Check in to the local hospital
And make a real difference
Or at least a real diffidence

I would make rounds with
My complaints and a heart-
Shaped balloon for anything
Real to help me forget about
My expanding gut and…

Moral of the story:
All goes onward, nothing collapses
Nothing falls apart

     

Loren Goodman is the author of Famous Americans, selected by W.S. Merwin for the 2002 Yale Series of Younger Poets, and Non-Existent Facts (otata’s bookshelf, 2018), as well as the chapbooks Suppository Writing (The Chuckwagon, 2008) and New Products (Proper Tales Press, 2010). He is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and English Literature at Yonsei University/Underwood International College in Seoul, Korea, and serves as the UIC Creative Writing Director.

Pirooz Kalayeh is a filmmaker, artist, and author. His films include Shoplifting from American ApparelThe Human WarBrad Warner’s Hardcore ZenZombie Bounty Hunter M.D., and CTRL ALT DEL. His novel The Whopper Strategies details an advertising executive’s journey to package Enlightenment in a Box. His sixth feature Sometimes I Dream in Farsi is currently in post-production with Ilikenirvana Productions.

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