Touching on Tangents



it’s not the breath, in or out
not quite

breath’s only the boundary
sneaks past smooth
ebbs on laminar

it’s where streamlines retch
mouth shot off with plosives, or
trills eddying deep into passionate night

where breath wakes
roils into free



The Origin of Specious

Imagine your life a Cartesian space
endless grid
unlock its centre, you
can radiate from anywhere
be as graphic as you like
trace curves
your continuities and discontinuities
define the slope of your own
childhood, or not
reverse negative and positive
find yourself in a new sector
touch on tangents at one point, then
run parallel
love your self-vectorization
play on a logarithmic scale
laze about on the ln whenever you wish
it’s natural, irrational, whatever
you choose the basis
spin up, or down
let go of all gravity
ignore it and all its distortions
you can be perfect
you can even
approach the infinite


On Coming Late to a Teaching Career 

Her mind has become an odd warehouse
constantly preoccupied
perfecting her French
collecting new slang
sorting pop culture:
    cool, meta, irrelevant, cringe worthy.
Her house, too, holds collections.
Recyclables stacked in groups of 32
    ten students short of the answer to 
    life, the universe, and everything
    (cringe worthy)
she packs each theme in a tub with a label
longs to start lessons with demos, but
knows how feckless they can be.
Students judge.

She’s not doing this to add a frisson to her fifties.
Furthermore, she’s not doing this in her fifties to add a frisson.
Opportunities she’s taken to add a frisson have been ample, abundant, commodious even.
If you think
all she wants to do is settle down
she’ll remind you
in her grandmother’s village she could join the nuns in their coifs.
Instead, she’s preparing.

She is baiting a hook for the future, a lure
for the perfect moment to explain how
    the foam-like structure of the medullary pith of a feather arises 
    during embryogenesis from a process of vacuolisation.
    Here’s why that’s important to flight…
    What do you think is… 
    …the connection to Kevlar?

She knows she’ll pay into a pension and never collect,
knows her peek at a shadowy mammogram is nothing to panic about.
She took that in, like any curiosity, marvelling, just
as she does when the rust gets her tomatoes, just
as she does when the leaves transpire and, voilà! she collects water to drink.

There’ll be time enough for corrections.  Time, perhaps,
to leave an impression.

On the day of his death, she eulogized Stephen Hawking, stirred
A Brief History of Time into an episode of The Big Bang Theory
with a side of Ice Bucket Challenge, repeating
    motor neurons affected, sensory neurons not
She was preparing the class for their exam; the real lesson was:
    he could feel everything. 

Their adolescence will soon condense to adulthood, they
will step from their steamy hot shower of hormones.
Will she be there, the faint roric image on the mirror?
Will they remember what she tried
to teach?


The verb, To Release, speaks to the verb, To Ensnare

I hate to see anything trapped.
Even the way a photo captures a moment provokes
a rising gorge, my unease
wicked up incensed incendiary

I’m reminded
you enjoy the way
one pickerel frog poisons
everything else in the bucket

Truth trips over the velour of your tongue
entangles itself with conformity
a balled-up clusterfuck of toxic convictions
fake news ancient prejudice hucksterism alike
twisted and spun
a binding weave cast over those you have ensorcelled

Makes me want to scissor
warp from weft
unleash my fury on your grandiose straitjacket
disentangle the fuck out of that serpentine noose
free every gerrymandered cluster of star-struck acolytes
with the same power I used to tip off the expansion of space-time

I’m holding back so as not to cleave
water from wet
on this tiny planet
not to tip its toboggan down a treacherous slope
burdened as it is with potential
to set its atmosphere back even further past     two      point      five      million      years
in the relative blink of a galactic eye.

Who could have foreseen us behaving like this?

Here am I wrestling with Death, Life in its gnathic grip
while there you are shouting at me,
Let it go! Let it go!


Photo (c) Paris Elizabeth Sea


Paris Elizabeth Sea is an independent observer of politics from a Canadian perspective.  A poet and professional science educator, her creative work explores politics, feminism, and environmental issues and has been published in numerous literary journals and publications. Her award-winning political poem, Early Morning, PMO, is available online at the website of CV2 magazine.