The Unknown: The Purple Line

the unknown is like

a Cargill’s Seeds Soil Thermometer
a most versatile item
the thermometer is
built into a flat pointed stick
like a paint-stirring stick
but just a little thicker
the thermometer is embedded
in the stick
the temperature scale
printed on both sides of the wooden slot
so that you can safely jab it
(the Cargill's Seeds Soil Thermometer)
into the damp lush
dirt of your garden
that holds and feeds
your pumpkins lounging
like golden gods after an orgy
that has left them
engorged and comatose
on the far left side
of the Cargill’s Seeds Soil Thermometer
is another scale
in inches
so that you can measure the depth
of a snowfall
or a monsoon’s worth of rain
or the length of a spider web
or your cat’s tail
and given
that the inches scale starts
at zero inches
but the zero
is placed on a line
that has at least an inch
of pointed wood below it
the Cargill’s Seeds Soil Thermometer
in a simple
but ultimately profound way
suggests the existence
of negative numbers
numbers that exist only
in the brain
numbers that can’t be
physically represented
in the real world
show me –3 apples for example
of course there are those who would retort
all numbers exist
only in the brain
show me a 5
not five things
a 5
you point to the 5
on the Cargill’s Seeds Soil Thermometer
that’s not a 5
that’s the sign for 5
yes but in this case
the sign and the thing
are identical
that’s horseshit
and besides you just screwed your own argument
if that’s a 5 i don’t have to show you –3 apples
just give me some paper
and i’ll create a –3
ex nihilo
and you will be astounded
i’ve always wondered
is horseshit worse than bullshit
it’s used less frequently
which would suggest that it is reserved
for those times that demand
a more powerful expletive
and isn’t it interesting that we abbreviate
bullshit as b.s.
but we don’t abbreviate
horseshit as h.s.
for obvious reasons I guess
since b.s. flows off the tongue
much better than h.s.
and you can say bull and imply
the shit
but you can’t do the same with horse
and finally at the top of the stick
a hole
from which to hang
the Cargill’s Seeds Soil Thermometer
on a nail
pounded into one of your walls
and bent back just enough to make a hook
so that it
the thermometer not the nail
can perform
yet one more service
recording and displaying
for your sensual pleasure
the current temperature of the air

and that’s how it is with the unknown


novel META
al bull
shit sort of
a doc
ary corr
ence art is
at art live