Saturday, April 25, 2015

Friday night crunch time

unproductive week
so Friday night is crunch time
buoyed by Tuscan red

my head awash in
seas of numbers that now prove
all inscrutable

will ANOVA work
a Nova is a Chevy
with cheap vinyl seats

I can still smell as
in my memory I coast
down Mulholland Drive

in second gear to
stop the brakes to fade with my
wife still with me now

ah a result no
false alarm need more samples
maybe next week then

Simpson's paradox
you bid me consider what
the fuck do I know


  1. "Buoyed by Tuscan red." Delicious.

    If you still need help crunching those numbers, check out the spam comment on the "Would You Go?" post.

  2. Hey! We've got another poet! Hurrah!

    Love the use of enjambment (for the non-English majors: running the sentence past the end of the line, which creates all kinds of interesting tensions and multiple possible meanings). However, to fully appreciate it, I'm going to have to google a couple of terms not familiar to us English lit types (ANOVA, Simpson's paradox).

    For the moment, I'm remembering my grandparents' NOVA, the deterioration of which coincided with the deterioration of my grandmother's mind. We finally realized both were in pretty bad shape when, trying to figure out why the thing smelled of rotten fish, we simultaneously discovered the package from her favorite fishmonger, purchased weeks before, that she'd forgotten to take into the house, and the rusted-through part of the trunk that was letting the smell into the passenger compartment.

  3. ANalysis Of VAriance; the acronym used to make me think thete should be a sedative by that name. The car never sold well in Mexico: No va.

  4. Really enjoyed this, OPH. The last three lines cracked me up.

    I have a laptop that may be as old as the car you mention...the sole reason I still have it is that its got a copy of SPSS on it. I only use it about once a year, and don't want to upgrade or learn other systems (R?), dinosaur that I am.

  5. My grandparents bought their Nova new with cash in 1972 (same as the car in the shitty graphic); their still-depression-era thinking was that if you couldn't afford to pay cash, you couldn't afford to own it. They had an upscale 2nd car that Grandma drove or they drove together, but when Grandpa drove himself, he'd take the stoic Nova. It was still going strong in the mid-1990s when it was passed down to a cousin, but Grandpa's brain had begun passing on a bit earlier, evidence of which was the nest of ungraded papers we found in the car's trunk (post-retirement, he volunteered as a teacher's aid) not long before he agreed to surrender his license.

    "Enjambment" evokes what might happen to one's toes during nocturnal peregrination. Though I'd forgotten the word (if I ever knew it), I remembered the concept, my first 'grown up' encounter of which was probably during a section on poetry in 9th-grade English class. The class cut-up happened upon something in the textbook that he had to share. "Guys, get this: We real cool. We left school. We lurk late. We strike straight..." Whereupon the teacher cut him off. "Okay, that one wasn't in today's plan, but let's get into it. You notice how the lines end in 'We'? That means you don't just read it straight, as you've done. You drop your voice and hesitate a bit before continuing with the next line. 'We / Sing sin. We / Thin gin. We / Jazz June. We / Die soon.' Now how does that reading affect the way you think about it?" You could almost see the embers glowing hotter in my classmates' minds.

    My first experience with haiku was in a class in sixth grade -- I still remember my own first, bland composition. Probably like the rest of the class, I could understand the simplest rules of the form but had insufficient experience with nuance (in verse or elsewhere). So the formula was like "write a five-syllable sentence, write a seven-syllable sentence, write another five-syllable sentence," and the results sounded predictably formulaic. The offerings of Greta and others here have shown what can be done, and surely were what awoke my muse.

    Sometimes, when I set out to do something else, things like these are delivered in packages nearly complete. I've learned to burnish it no more than necessary and to appreciate (and leave alone) the happy accidents that arrive in the original. One thing I did change here, for the better I suspect, is around "to stop the brakes to fade"; the first pass didn't scan well. "Stop to fade" is a very Latin way to say it, with the complementary infinitive instead of the gerund typical in English. It occurred after I wrote it that I might have been alluding to a lyric by Eef Barzelay of Clem Snide, which I thought quite clever: "Theres a different kind of dark / The kind that stops the dogs to bark /...".

  6. Though I'm very familiar with haiku,
    and tanka and renga are cool
    The sonnet's complexity
    matches Tang structure's vexity,
    But let's give the limerick its due.

    1. The limerick is often maligned
      By those intellect'lly inclined,
      But they who'd allude
      That its writers are crude
      Can just kiss my hairy behind.

    2. Nice
      Proctor Hep.
      But have you ever
      tried a Fibonacci poem?
      (see: Fib)

    3. So,
      This stuff is,
      Like, hard, and I feel...
      Is this going to be on the test?

    4. You have an impressive facility
      for arranging words with agility
      If into light opera you plunge in
      You could be the next Sullivan.


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