LAURA A. WARMAN
One. The number most embodied, the number most claimed. “I am number one.”- Michael Jordan, Marilyn Monroe. The first chapter of Numbers is just documentation of a census of the Israelite community. There were 603,550 men. The phallus; the community; the tribe; the one. You can’t make anything out of one. One is the number of complete potential. The one is a child. In a small town in the United States of America, there is a soccer league for children. The league bans the number one on jerseys. When asked, they would say “No one is #1. We are a community.”
I often coincidentally Google someone either right before or right after they die. This just happened to me with Lynsey De Paul. She died two days ago. She wrote the song “Sugar Me”. The music video shows De Paul alternating between dewy eye connection and wide-eyed stares. Her loose bangs fall left, right, and over her eye. Her rhinestone hair clip sparkles in the spotlight. She doesn’t appear to be wearing clothes, only a boa. Her eyes flash while saying “pardon me”. This is not a pardon. She is sweet, but not now. She wants a savior. She breathily sings “Sugar. Sugar. Sugar.” as the video jerks from focus. She is accompanied by a background image of a neon large-eyed cartoon mouse. “Gotta get my candy free”. Yes, Lynsey De Paul wants it. No, she will not pay. The video fades out to a bored crowd, seconds before the applause sign illuminates. A woman frowns, her eyes almost shut. The lights come up; the applause is thunderous.
At the conference, my student said, “Why three?”. Hoping she would buy my feminism, I said, “Three is a powerful woman.”
There are four sides in a square. A square is solid. A square is comfort. A square is a box to hide inside of. There are four legs on the altar at the church. Yesterday I drew cards for the “Tarot of Liberation” arrangement, in accordance with Jodorowsky’s principle. There were five cards. Three of my five cards were fours. I am in a time now where I am surrounded by a square. This could be the permanence of a relationship, leading to inertia. To liberate myself I must fail at something. I must be attacked and I must succumb. This all culminates with the achievement of my destiny. My destiny was another four. But with this four I was not only comfortable, I was moving. Four is my number when I am in a relationship, but typically my number is three.
The snowball he threw. My frozen windshield. The crack; it came, it grew. He never paid and I moved. There’s always someone passing through me and I let them. No, a snowball cannot represent the actualized potential of destruction. If the only people we force to wear khaki are the proletariat, then what even is khaki? If all the poets at St. Marks in the 80s are now writing about their dogs, what is poetry? If my new Partner gets ebola on the plane to visit me, will they still be my Partner? If I never went to high school, how could I know how to use a gun?
I grew up in a town named Battle Ground in Washington State. Tonya Harding lived down the street. My neighbor would get free cats from the paper, then execute them in creative ways. Everyone was a Christian. Everyone was superstitious. After service at Battle Ground Baptist Church, I would attempt to fill my phone book with numbers. Some weren’t allowed to give me their number. They couldn’t say their number out loud, nor could they write their number down. By luck, one quarter of Battle Ground residents had a phone number that began with “666”. The devil. The number of the beast. Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, the fear of 6-6-6.
I went to the Yankee Candle Factory with Joseph. I bought a candle called “Autumn Leaves”. By the time I reached the bottom of the wick, all the leaves in my yard had changed colors. I had not expected this.
A man with a very old balloon tied to his belt loop.