Unfortunately, I'm not one of those 'Math' geniuses that have already graced your pages, but I still had to come and comment on another wonderful piece of work. Even I who think numbers or equations and such are boring found this piece to be rather stimulating and interesting. It's too bad math couldn't be in poetic form, then I'm sure I could find a way to like it.
Ok... two spelling errors- "coarse white chalk" & "a wide plane"... but with those typos aside, I really have no "beef" (ok why did I choose that word?) with your poem. Excellent. I can certainly connect with it... but on a deeper note, it touches another, broader feeling. the fact that your friend finds an ocean's depth in something you describe as a plane of slate (cold and flat and unremarkable) boasts a bit of jealousy? like... like the poem touches on personal shortcomings, and even though everyone knows it's a million times better to be a poet than a mathematician, there's still that glass-ceiling dissatisfaction. Good job. A personal victory for me: no Statistics class tomorrow. :D
This is one of the poems that leaves me confused for ages. It seems to want to give another meaning that i can't really see.
The only thing that i didn't really like was the word "math-happy". The whole poem is feels like a build up of something, then the last line says "math-happy". It seems to drop the intellectual level of the poem too far. It almost seems to "childish" a word to fit into the poem.
I was wondering if the whole poem was actually just trying to depict an equation, or a person trying to solve an equation. The labyrinths make me think of a person struggling to find the answer. I dunno if i am right, but thats what i see.
I did like the length of your poem, it is nice and short and straight to the point.
Perhaps math is the language of authority that you despise for its inherent hypocrisy heaped upon the middle classes victimized by it in terms of taxation/elections/military service (a man's moral value equated to his wealth, a nation's patriotism determined by the number of dead in wartime, a people's vision measured against a mathematically determined norm, etc.). I'm certain this wasn't in your frontal lobe when you wrote this (most likely it was an irritation with math as opposed to a love of language), but the implications run deep (and you're by no means shallow or random despite how aimless you'd like to appear). Nicely done shorter work on your aprt. Yake care, Jason. Bill.
"corse" should be "coarse", "plain" should be "plane" but as that has already been pointed out, I doubt you care.
As far as diction is concerned, I take a bit of issue with "numbers" and "math-happy". "Numbers" I would change, at the very least, to "symbols," as most math is not numbers at all.
I'll refrain from going into a long diatribe about the popular perception of math here, especially as I am one who uses math as a tool on a daily basis and I know that the distinction between those who "get" math and those who don't (or those who are "literary" and those who are "mathy") is purely a superficial cop-out by those too scared by one side or the other, but I will say that the last stanza here left me disappointed. I was hoping for .... something more along the lines of what I would have written .... can you imagine what it is like to spend an entire lifetime working on a single problem, the answer/solution/proof of which can be summarized on a single blackboard? As this is the kind of state alluded to in the beginning of the poem, I was hoping that this is what was going to be commented on in the final stanza. But that's just me.
As one who has love of math, (In any form) I found the theme interesting. I have always been fascinated by mathematicians. I have a wen.ch of a time with something as simple as the pythagorean therum and it floors me to see someone tackle huge equations, working the numbers, sometimes for years, simply to come to an answer that then has to be checked, and re-checked by other great minds.
I think I'll stick to the simpler equations of writing poetry for others to consume in one simple sitting.