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counting nickels, counting words

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Part of my job involves counting coins: nickels & dimes two at a time, quarters four at a

time, pennies five. Not just reducing “chaos” (the uncounted) to “order” (one count in an

array of counts), for each integer is the name of a sum & bears its own identity.

Integers are as distinct as colors, as words. (3334 no more resembles 3324 than “cult”

does “c**t”.) Making a count is the birth of another instantiation of some integer.

It connects in a family way with all the other sums of counted things in the world,

regardless of what they happen to be (jellybeans? nuclear warheads?). That number has

oddness or evenness, which in numbers is like their gender. And sometimes it’s prime,

which is the chief specialness of counted things.

I like counting nickels best—they are just the right weight & thickness, & a better metal

than quarters IMHO. A prime sum of nickels is better than a birthday.

Thus I like to count syllables in writing a poem. Almost always it’s an odd number,

most often seven, to a line. I oscillate between same-length lines & lines that go longer

& shorter. These correspond to kinds of moods. When I really want more number in

my poetry, I resort to “rhime”: that is to say, by adding up the letters of a word (A=1,

B=2…Z=26), so that any two words with the same sum are pairable, exactly like a sound-

rhyme. I find that with enough practice I remember some of the words that go together; &

this for me forms a completely new matrix of order within the existing system of English

words.

I will never count all the words, so that matrix has mystery.

_________________

"I have always found that Angels have the vanity

to speak of themselves as the only wise; this they

do with a confident insolence sprouting from systematic

reasoning." --William Blake

time, pennies five. Not just reducing “chaos” (the uncounted) to “order” (one count in an

array of counts), for each integer is the name of a sum & bears its own identity.

Integers are as distinct as colors, as words. (3334 no more resembles 3324 than “cult”

does “c**t”.) Making a count is the birth of another instantiation of some integer.

It connects in a family way with all the other sums of counted things in the world,

regardless of what they happen to be (jellybeans? nuclear warheads?). That number has

oddness or evenness, which in numbers is like their gender. And sometimes it’s prime,

which is the chief specialness of counted things.

I like counting nickels best—they are just the right weight & thickness, & a better metal

than quarters IMHO. A prime sum of nickels is better than a birthday.

Thus I like to count syllables in writing a poem. Almost always it’s an odd number,

most often seven, to a line. I oscillate between same-length lines & lines that go longer

& shorter. These correspond to kinds of moods. When I really want more number in

my poetry, I resort to “rhime”: that is to say, by adding up the letters of a word (A=1,

B=2…Z=26), so that any two words with the same sum are pairable, exactly like a sound-

rhyme. I find that with enough practice I remember some of the words that go together; &

this for me forms a completely new matrix of order within the existing system of English

words.

I will never count all the words, so that matrix has mystery.

You remind me of the Sesame Street character --- The Count.

ruveyn

Titangeek

Veteran

Joined: 22 Aug 2010

Age: 27

Gender: Male

Posts: 7,696

Location: somewhere in the vicinity of betelgeuse

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