Two Poems Written at
the San Jose Poetry Center,
Saturday, March 24, 1990

Saturday, 24 March

A wave or
Regarding Wave
Are titles of books of poets I know,
Great Poets, driving up from San Jose
Freeway like a wave little blinking lights
Of cars, waves dimpling on a stone shore
It is no accident I am writing
Twenty-eight lines a day
According to Peter, Chinese microbiologist,
Who points out 28 days is the moon cycle
And the menstrual cycle
and it is a perfect number
The only one
With two digits
Which means that the total of all its divisors
When you add them up
Equals 28
And not only that: it's the atomic weight
Of the nitrogen molecule
Which makes up over 70% of the atmosphere
We and everything else breathe
Twenty-eight is certainly not an accident
And like everything else in my life
The choice of twenty-eight lines for these poems
Is acutely calculated, deviously well thought through
And incandescently brilliant
It takes years to come up with something this good
A perfect wave

— Norman Fischer, Success
     Singing Horse Press, Philadelphia (2000)


(at Gary Snyder's Poetry Workshop)

Twenty-eight poets sit in silence,
empty shoes and socks an the floor—
my legs in semi-lotus posture
dreaming of another world:

A thousand windows cannot make us see clearer
    than if we were outside our house.
A thousand books cannot teach us better
    than if we let conscience be our guide.
A thousand passions cannot make us happier
    than if we find the love which abides.

Space does not light up with sunrise
    nor darken with sunset.
Water is not born when waves rise
    nor die when they fall.
Mind is not enriched by thoughts
    nor deprived by their absence.

A silent room shines within
  this art deco house, but outside—
    a car vrooms down the street,
      a plane hums overhead,
        and a sparrow chirps
          Whuueew Whuueew Whuueew!

— Peter Y. Chou, San Jose, 3-24-1990
     How to Fold an Origamic Sphere: Poems of 1990

More on the Number 28
Norman Fischer's 60 Random Words Exercise

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© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (5-15-2003)