The least and lowest fact of outward observation is not a bare fact, an independent entity, fact minus mind.

J. CAIRD

MINUS

The quasi-prepositional pedantic use

Placed in order to deduce,

Between two self-satisfied expressions,

The presence of some indiscretions,

Lurking nihilists whose very threats 

Will swamp the happy pair in debts

Of this quantity or that,

Or to indicate that the that

(Or the this) does not in fact

Subsist in reason as an act 

To the enumerated being,

Or lack of being,

Therein specified,

A so-to-speak numericide

Where some passing figure

Has been waylaid by a bigger,

Pretending just to coincide

When really it is misallied 

And intends to rid itself 

Of its companion's greater wealth,

But quite demurely,

With the deduction purely

Of some constituent

Or inattentive element

Of the smugly solvent universe,

The calculus of scavengers

And abacus of raw excess

By which deficient lives egress,

Destitute of an essence which pertains 

To their mathematical remains,

Invisible, abstruse, and thin as air,

The inner urge is to strip us bare,

And yet as dangerous to the vast expanse 

As any finite circumstance,

But, on the other hand,

 The opposite of the ampersand, 

Needing mass where it's prefixed

To represent a world nixed,

Forming only in the shell,

Whose emptiness it lives to tell,

The whirling devil of the genuine,

Against whose heaven it must sin,

The algebraic form of vis-à-vis,

Where our contrarieties we see,

Something really just not there

To existence au contraire—

Yet without it nothing matters

And the theory of all numbers shatters; 

On its own: nonentity,

Yet without its frown, we cease to be:

But though it from the least of subjects stole,

Minus minus remains a whole.

 

February 18th, 2002

Tippet Alley

Rewritten March 10th. 2002

Tippet Alley