At university I learned about mathematics-in-music.

Between binge drinking and finding my soul

I discovered the inevitable:

inspiration doesn't become creation without fine tuning.


I bought a Dave Brubeck CD and listened while I studied,

while I strove to write poems without counting syllables,

while I ate two minute noodles and drank six packs of beer,

while I tried to sleep to my roommate fucking

(in time to beats of jazzed up fives)

a coed from the second floor.

I memorised melodies and had to do equations

and questioned my vocation as would-be poet

because Take Five wasn't a stroll down an alley

of garbage cans and scurvy cats, the woman in red,

a hobo whistling, a man in a suit with an alto sax;

it was perfect numbers from fractions

with order and reason

and from it came rhythm and song,


only I wanted to be that woman in red,

that very sax, even one of the cats

because I wanted to believe that magic lies within the muse

and the artist and the sound and the word and the pen

and algebra was dead as high school classes

during padlocked summertime days.

I wanted to heed the creed of art for art's sake.

I was eighteen. 


I failed Music Theory, ascended to drinking

bourbon and cokes and lost my virginity

all in a year.

My first, he dumped me in two week's time

while the bourbon turned to cheap red wine

and I wrote poems on life-til-now

while others took notes

on why painting is like geometry.