life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

life in the numbers

Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your head. 

Arithmetic tells you how many you lose or win if you know how 

    many you had before you lost or won. 

Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven – or five 

    six bundle of sticks. 

Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand 

    to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer. 

Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and 

    you can look out of the window and see the blue sky – or the 

    answer is wrong and you have to start all over and try again 

    and see how it comes out this time. 

If you take a number and double it and double it again and then 

    double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger 

    and goes higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you 

    what the number is when you decide to quit doubling. 

Arithmetic is where you have to multiply – and you carry the 

    multiplication table in your head and hope you won’t lose it. 

If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you 

    eat one and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the 

    other, how many animal crackers will you have if somebody 

    offers you five six seven and you say No no no and you say 

    Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix? 

If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she 

    gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is 

    better in arithmetic, you or your mother?

+

Arithmetic by Carl Sandburg

There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man. 

You can make him carry a plank of wood 

to the top of a hill and nail him to it. To do this 

properly you require a crowd of people 

wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak 

to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one 

man to hammer the nails home. 

 

Or you can take a length of steel, 

shaped and chased in a traditional way, 

and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears. 

But for this you need white horses, 

English trees, men with bows and arrows, 

at least two flags, a prince, and a 

castle to hold your banquet in. 

 

Dispensing with nobility, you may, if the wind 

allows, blow gas at him. But then you need 

a mile of mud sliced through with ditches, 

not to mention black boots, bomb craters, 

more mud, a plague of rats, a dozen songs 

and some round hats made of steel. 

 

In an age of aeroplanes, you may fly 

miles above your victim and dispose of him by 

pressing one small switch. All you then 

require is an ocean to separate you, two 

systems of government, a nation’s scientists, 

several factories, a psychopath and 

land that no-one needs for several years. 

 

These are, as I began, cumbersome ways 

to kill a man. Simpler, direct, and much more neat 

is to see that he is living somewhere in the middle 

of the twentieth century, and leave him there.

Five Ways to Kill a Man by Edwin Brock

Prolonged, they slacken into pain
or sadness in accordance with the law
of apples.
One apple satisfies.
Two apples cloy.
Three apples glut.
Call it a tug-of-war between enough and more
than enough, between sufficiency
and greed, between the stay-at-homers
and globe-trotting see-the-worlders.
Like lovers seeking heaven in excess,
the hopelessly insatiable forget
how passion sharpens appetites
that gross indulgence numbs.
Result?
The haves have not
what all the have-nots have
since much of having is the need
to have.
Even my dog
knows that—and more than that.
He slumbers in a moon of sunlight,
scratches his twitches and itches
in measure, savors every bite
of grub with equal gratitude
and stays determinedly in place
unless what’s suddenly exciting
happens.
Viewing mere change
as threatening, he relishes a few
undoubtable and proven pleasures
to enjoy each day in sequence
and with canine moderation.
They’re there for him in waiting,
and he never wears them out.
=
The Necessary Brevity of Pleasures by Samuel Hazo

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Song 02 B
.. Sterling News
~
m.e. 4/3/17
1
— Em Bm
she looked over,
said to me
let’s start a new phase
this was after the crazies —
the Polonaise
if that was the sound of history,
I’d thought — then
It’s not too bad of a theme
— G Bm Em
and a little whisper, well,
this really can’t go wrong —
this picture of all these
reams and reams of songs
2
— Em Bm
you see,
the content is voluminous
this is like
the books high up
on a very high shelf
this is like
climbing a rolling ladder,
and seeing there’s eons
more than myself
— G Bm Em
in this world
of our own new making
imagine just two
— the index of two
imagine the worlds
of our language and
voices make incredible views —
sterling News
3
— Em Bm
she looked over,
said to me
let’s start a new phase
in time —
but I was already lost
in where to move,
doing math
of extending —
each and every day
— G Bm Em
and a little whisper, well,
this really can’t go wrong —
this picture of all these
reams and reams of songs
in this world
of our own new making
imagine just two
— the index of two
imagine the worlds
of our language and
voices make incredible views —
sterling News
~

IMG_7328[1]

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