August 13, 2004

Dangerous and pungent oddments  

A poem about a number (see also paraskavedekatriaphobia):

Triskaidekaphobia across the centuries
Kept us seating one more at the table, even when
The extra one was silly or redundant or gross.
Moreover, the new arrangements--the sexes paired off,
The doubled sevens, the mysteries of ten and four--
Masqueraded as reasons, hiding always our fear
Of dangerous and pungent oddments behind the bright
And interesting arrangements that terror had us make.
Like grownups now, allowing the black cats to amble
Across our shadows in the forenoon without alarm,
We can at least, in a poor time for discourse, invite
Exactly whom we please, whom we need: it will be right
In a new shape, finished beyond the old completion.
-- from John Hollander's Powers of Thirteen

Martial  {August 22, 2004}

I'm on the road at the moment and have, oddly, been seated in row "14" of three of the four airplanes I've been on in the past week. As you may know, many airplanes don't have a row 13 . . .

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