Dynamics Imaged

O haggis, hunkered halfway up the hill,
uneven legs in fore-and-aft matched pairs,
each to the other skewed like stick in plaice
before the batter’s up in golden ducks,
attend right-thinking running, circle up
or down the slope until the golden mean
of altitude, corrected for spare crags,
prevails, and you proceed goat-like to graze
at ease and restfully, your haggis rules
OK, exemplifying strange attractors,
repelling border colleens, collies, kilts,
and robber burns on ceremonial night.
And, haggis, try to live as if you’ve got
the grit required to stomach Mandelbrot.

IF the weather is nice where you are, please by all means go out and play. But if the sea is too cold or it’s raining, perhaps you could help me with these footnotes.

FOOTNOTES (so far, so good, so what):

1. ‘haggis’ — A delicate, delicious smallish creature hunted in the Highlands for its meet and for the hill of it. Pulled more successfully than birds by Dawkins shellfish jeans to the extent that its right legs (called Bermudas) are shorter than its left (called Levis).

2. ‘hunkered’ — Squatted down close to the ground, but not as in a squat. Unclear as to why this footnote is needed at all, except that one would have to renumber the rest (except one, ‘1’) were it taken out.

3. ‘skewed like stick in plaice’ — An impossible situation, like the impossible animal that exists (footnote 1), since a stick that is IN a plaice (large edible flat-bodied fish Pleuronectes platessa in European seas) can NOT be skewed (neither parallel nor intersecting) to said plaice. Cf. Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 7, Macbeth’s castle:

MACBETH: If we should fail?

LADY MACBETH: We fail!
But screw your courage to the
sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail.

4. ‘before the batter’s up in golden ducks’ — Before all the batter (for the plaice) has been used up playing with our food, making little golden-fried ducks. Alternatively, for those who find the first explanation not cricket, before the batsman’s or batswoman’s turn is up by being out with a nil score (from a ‘duck’s egg,’ shaped like a zero). There is of course a third and very important possibility relating back to the skew framework of the poet’s mind [sick? sic?] of batter as a transitive verb for building a wall or similar so as to form an upwardly receding slope ‘The Haggis Hunting Ground,’ but by now this footnote itself is getting battered beyond all redemption.

5. ‘attend right-thinking running’ — Admonishing the haggis to pay attention to conventional ideas of morality, propriety, and decorum whilst ALSO running to the right (otherwise it would turn its short legs to the downside of the hill and fall into the hunters’ sacks) and whilst ALSO concentrating to avoid coming too close to the perpendicular (and falling into the hunters’ sacks).

6. ‘circle up / or down the slope until the golden mean / of altitude’ — Advising the haggis (so that it may avoid falling into the hunters’ sacks) to find and keep to that aesthetically pleasing and just-right height (which the haggis computes on the trot, the ratio of the whole line to the larger part being exactly the same as the ratio of the larger part to the smaller part) where its leg-length challenge matches the mountain’s slope-flat challenge.

7. ‘haggis rules / OK’ — Reminiscent of the wonder which led one seeker of truth to The Linguist List, Eastern Michigan University dash Wayne State University to ask, on Saturday, 11 September at 09:22:06, ‘I’ve seen several British spray-painted slogans of the form “X rules OK” on walls and other outdoor surfaces. Can someone explain the syntax to me?’ He didn’t seem to get an answer.

8. ‘exemplifying strange attractors, / repelling’ — Attractors and repellers are, of course, WHAT THE WHOLE POEM IS ABOUT!

9. ‘border colleens, collies, kilts,’ — Since this is simply about complexity and chaos, it follows that we mix up the Borders — Scots going to Ireland, Irish girls coming back to Scotland, etc.

10. ‘robber burns on ceremonial night.’ — In Dutch ‘robber’ means ‘seal’ which is a red herring of another colour. The line itself should have Robert Burns whirling in Dumfries, which is only fair seeing how many poor little haggis have been hunted down over the years to accompany the mashed turnip, mashed potato, and mashed whisky at Burns Suppers. O, Immortal Memory.

11. ‘the grit required to stomach Mandelbrot’ — Somewhat at ‘out of the mouth (stoma) of Benoit’ but not very. More at ‘Fractal, fractal on the wall.’ I rest my case of Jacques Denials.

Prophecy

Come laugh with me, it is the only way,
to laugh ourselves out (a Dutchy idiom)
and nothing anyway we’d say
defuses bombs or saves our bum
’s rush that waits us. Better smile and sing
and celebrate the moment’s beauty, hein.
You have your dreams and someone must have mine
and when I find them I’ll not swoon or whine
but dance a minuet while babies boom.
I’ll pirouette inside a crowded room
and sing how happy I am prophecy
is now updated. Prozac’s set us free.

Obsessive Inertia

Yesterday I published ‘Obsessive Inertia’ over at Medium, which, as they say about themselves, is

‘a place where everyone has a story to share and the best ones are delivered right to you. Every day, thousands of people turn to Medium to publish their ideas and perspectives. Leaders. Artists. Thinkers. And ordinary citizens who have a story to tell. Posts range from scrutinies of world affairs to deeply personal essays.’

I like reading stories at Medium with a browser at their website and also with their app on phones and tablets. I will probably post more of my own there too.

MediumForAlan

Non-U Socialising

‘I am old,’ said the Durac, ‘and riddled with charm,

so I live all alone in The South.’

The Slynog replied, with a sound like it cried

though it moved not a part of its mouth,

‘You are eusocial, Eugene, eugenically broke;

you give over too early to wrath.

You keep seeking the reeking unriddling of All

though you look for it only in Math.’

‘Am I truly eusocial?’ the Durac essayed.

It pleasured him slightly to toy

with the sensible Slynog whose ‘sensitive’ seethed

under bedclothes of logic to buoy

up a billow of bubbles of misapplied thought.

‘I’d have thought that a taut skein of cells

in the skin or the blood were eusocial while I,

like an unaxoned neuron or bells

unadorned by book, candle or swung-about cat,

am waiting alone though we meet.’

The Slynog, who nurtured its own hermit past

with plunges through bloodstreams to eat,

said the Durac was right, and remarked that the light

was marvelous this time of the day.

Then they parted imparted with illusions they’d shared

a moment. Each went on its way.

Denial in The Line’s Din

A one dimensional line evolves its point
to two, a pair that like dilemma horns
go separate ways before one can anoint
either horn as better. Both are thorns
that trouble staunch denial, as they’re bound
to do, uniting, by their binding, lots
of intervening space the dye has cast
a pall upon. The space itself is sound,
although unasked for by the man God wots.
The man sees both points threatening the past
existence he’s been used to all these years.
The line the points draw leads him into fears.

What is this dye that our traveller wants to stow
(reversing “wots”) away so that its hue
can’t cry explosively and splash and glow
so brightly that it forces him to view
some to-him-unfamiliar forms of life?
What is the point escaping from the din
to which he is accustomed? Just a dot?
A dot of dotage, small in size but rife
for an expansive future, brings a grin
to Wot’s not-yet old face. He says he’ll rot
rat cheer and thanks the points not very much
for spreading out to where they’re hard to touch.

Rose and Crowne Niggles

Nigel the court’s pianist had been up to his nose
in finger exercises when the queen’s groom
called him out for a crusade to be fought with a rose
and a half crown found funding the ladies room
until, pyramid-scheme like, the new ruler’s broom
had swept the forecourt cleaner than star-crossed BP
could hope to dream of. Cheaply shouting ‘whoopee’
for reason if any of rhyme, Nigel, with thorn as sword
and coin as shield, essayed stopping totally
the oil slick thrown up by taking at their word

the crown’s oil barons, greedy as us all
but not restrained by pecuniary difficulties.
The groom, oily and opportunistically bad, suggested they start small
and they did, attacking not the entroughed aristocracies
Left and Right, but butting butlers till they wheezed,
and savaging supine servants of all ranks
beneath their own until they both gave thanks
to the God who’d let them rise so far.
Outside the court, along the river’s banks,
survivors watched the water turn to tar.

Sheepish Sheik

For Mother’s Day he gives to all his spouses
who have proved viviparous Maseratis.
To the others he gives sherry (sweet) and flowers,
and a Haitian potion to the one who’s dotty.

Perhaps it’s him who’s dotty, they’re not telling
what only they and he know. Coming clean
would tear it and their treasure trove would dry up
should the world learn he was eunuched when thirteen.