jeudi 16 septembre 2010

the formula

i've been working on this one for days, with changes averaging every 4.3 minutes... :>>))

i took a number and sat down
at the department of motor vehicles
i took a number, 59, and
glanced at the wall: 0044
i went to the calculator in my head
slid open the calculator draw with
all the functions i still don't know
even though i've had this calculator
for 30-odd years, such as
how to use the memory functions
find square roots, go back to square one
they did not matter at all because
i didn't have a proper ratio
the denominator was missing from
the only equation i ever use
the one that allows me to resize
anything resizable i need or want
to figure out what things are worth
in dollars, psyche or in verse
but all i had before me now
was 59 = 44  
and that was not enough
to conjure up impending costs

i hit the counter on my mental watch
the one that tells me how long
things take and sat waiting
for number 0045 to show up and
there it was in just under 2:00
now i had a ratio
yet only a sampling
of a probable variable
i needed more data, examples of
time divisible by averages
thus hitting the counter again in my head
sitting as straight as i possibly could
not to activate my weak back muscles
waiting for number 0046 to crack open
i sat and sat and sat, staring at
the teapot of digital detente
now fidgeting in my chair, wishing i'd
brought my book about eastern europe
instead of this mental monkeywrench, when

"flip" went the wall score and
0046 did appear in all its
phosphorescent glory...
4 minutes after the last, but then:
no one called #46 via the microphone
time did not move forward at all
'til the dmv person strode out the door
into the parking lot, around the corner
i don't know how long it was, i forgot to
push the mental button but
it seemed like a long long time
'til he strode back in again
and said, "46"... and i, thinking
i should probably add extra miles
then realizing how little it mattered
when i could simply repeat my error
with the next intrepid chafferer

so long a time did elapse
i fell asleep, elbowed by a jerk
sitting on my right who
let me know in no uncertain terms
that he found my mental calisthenics
too loud for his public and private reflections
as usual i was quite sincere
falling to my spiritual, yet antiquated knees
when i saw i had forgotten
during this mildly psychotic altercation
to arrest the mental counter
leaving me captive between numbers again
with a completely ambivalent figurehead

how long would i wait in
this hellhole of hard plastic chairs
color worn off of them
the powder-pale walls
tangible stress emanating from
a roomful of attenuated voyagers
a reshuffling of bums and crossing
and uncrossing of legs in
a total void of magazines, nothing to
break the monotony of the wait
except a mathematical formula
my cherished mental calculator
my timer and alarm
all of which i handled so badly
leaving me dangling between 0047
and 0048 on that friday afternoon
in august, goose pimply and sick
in the cold air conditioning?

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