For Professor Heino Vanderjuice
I hurry to tell Dr. Blope that since V got pinched there are 33 references to idiots in Pynchon’s latest Against the Day. I keep some things secret though. As any good mathematician who has aspirations beyond poetry I say to myself: at least 33 references. “Bloody idiots,” Dr. Blope screams. He’s not in the camp who joyously welcomes poets: “Oh my God! Another poet! How lucky we are!” He’s with the masses who are exasperated: “you write poetry, get away creep.” (These are actually Charles Simic’s words, but as they say, you’ve got to steal from the best). I tell Blope that I’ve just won the Pulitzer. “Have you now,” he says, making a dismissive gesture. “You mean, theoretically?” he asks on second thought. “Of course theoretically,” I say. “Anything else would be so boring.” I want to imitate his rhetoric and say: “bloody idiot, do the math, man.” While I go for nothing, I think of Zermelo’s axiom of choice. “Have you told Vanderjuice?” he asks. “He’s into that sort of thing.” “Nope,” I say. “He’s stuck in the Michelson-Morley Experiment. Can’t see nothing.” You can’t expect to see emotion in symmetry. And I hate symmetry. It only works in practice. “How do you feel, honey this and baby that?” In theory it screws up the smartest question: who the fuck cares?