Thursday, July 15, 2010

A ∩ B

I think of us as a Venn diagram, two ovals making
union, my yin seeking optimal overlap with your yang.
But north-facing magnets perpetually polarize our
perimeters, every minor interaction implodes into
a push-me-pull-me tug-o-drama – the toothpaste cap
rolling in the bathroom sink, the crusted cans
cluttering the recycle bin, the maxed-out (again)
Visa. Tits-for-tats, our minefields of petty
disgruntlements escalate, words carelessly
scattershot – always, never, fault, hate – leaving
behind crumb trails of unarticulated ultimatums.

But then, we sleep or, perhaps, make love – no,
it’s fucking pure and simple – and we lose ourselves
in the animal noises, the words peel away, and our
amalgamations circle to their singular intersection.


Inspired the 52/250 prompt "union of opposites".

This 'story' a bit of an experiment for me -- I was trying for a 'concrete' prose poem using half or fewer words of the allotted 250 words. I dislike google's limited formatting options -- imagine this perfectly justified in Verdana 12 pitch font.

Peace, Linda


  1. Verdana or not, your prose is excellent, heartfelt and too true.
    (I think you meant union in the second line, sorry for mentioning it - catch it quick before anyone else sees!!!)
    You've captured the daily "drama" that erodes relationships.
    You're too cool for school, y'know that?

  2. Daily drama indeed, captured so well with such brevity.

    I love the clarity of the prose in this - and hope the daily grinding (no, I'm not talking of the activity described towards the end of the piece :o) wears down some of the sharp edges of the two protagonists - to allow for smoother overlaps.

    Enjoyable. Well done.

  3. I like the relationship between relationships and math. Very nice images, and a lovely poem.

  4. Excellent and powerful as it is. It would look awesome as a visual punch in justified though.

  5. "unarticulated ultimatums" - love that phrase.

    You know what might be really cool with this? A podcast with a make and female voice, the male one maybe echoing some of the words, or both read the 1st paragraph in full, but slightly behind one another, whereas they are in full union/harmony for the second paragraph. I'd love to hear it read cos there's real dissonance and assonance in your word choices and the dynamics of the relationship come through really clearly.

    marc nash

  6. Of course it's fucking pure and simple if you see it as a Venn diagram! So long as this quadratic equation has two outcomes, I'll forgive the sting and take the remainder.

  7. What the heck did John just say?

    That's a wobbly connection!

    I can see it the way you visualize it. I've often been frustrated with blogger's limitations too. At least they've made it easier to indent.

    Marc has a good idea, and I like "unarticulated ultimatums" as well as the last phrase "amalgamations..."

  8. WOW! This was pure... so pure... and so amazing.

    Jim <--- my #fridayflash (if you care to read)

  9. Strong. And like Sulci Collective, "unarticulated ultimatums" stood out for me, too. I had to say that one out loud. Twice.

  10. Excellent story. Like art on the page. And it sings of everyday relationships, give and takes.

  11. What a great little piece. Short, sweet and yet so very powerful...

  12. Extremely tight and descriptive in spite of the brevity.

  13. I love the details of the toothpaste cap, the cans rolling... Vivid and quick.

  14. You layed this so well, there is so much more than the word count suggests. Three times I read and each time something else grabbed my attention.

  15. As a maths graduate who is currently working in the field of relational databases, you had me from the title!

    Beautifully put together

  16. Linda, this is why I admire you. You say so much, even with so few words. This is so excellent. I love the details! As always, so vivid.

  17. "Unarticulated ultimatums" caught my eye too, as did "tog-o-drama." And the title is perfect.

  18. Thank you all for reading and kind words on this small piece. I really enjoyed working this out, getting the word choice down. It'd be fun to podcast this -- will someone tell me how? Though I bet I'd stumble on some of the tongue twisters. Off to read yours. Peace...

  19. you write with an uncomplicated realism that lets the idea really come to the forefront. I very much enjoyed this.

  20. Life in all it's pains, joys, compromises, feelings -- all done in so few words. Opposites both attract and repel, it seems. These two feel like very real people to me. Nicely done, Linda.

  21. Gosh, what gorgeous language. A whole relationship in these few beautiful words. Just stunning.

  22. wow. I was hooked at :

    "my yin seeking optimal overlap with your yang."

    Great imagery. Great piece.
    Concrete indeed, at least for me, because I felt clobbered by it.


  23. I think your experiment is a great success! You didn't allow form to overwhelm the honesty and integrity, and emotion of the work.

    If only we could live in the place of no words, or numbers, and just be...

  24. I do believe your experiment was a success.

  25. oops -- that was me ^^^ the anonymous one.


  26. This was certainly tightly woven and wonderful. Beautiful rhythym to your word choices also.

    I agree with Sulci Collective about a podcast version too - a sort of audible venn diagram with the male and female voices overlapping in places. Just lovely.

  27. This is wonderful and flows so brilliantly.

    I love this: "every minor interaction implodes into
    a push-me-pull-me tug-o-drama – the toothpaste cap
    rolling in the bathroom sink"

    That is me and my OCD... yelling about the cabinet doors being open and at someone who doesn't put away their dental floss.

    Love it!

  28. Loved it, Linda. Makes me realize how much I've misseed reading your stuff--my own fault, of course.


  29. Thank you all for reading and commenting. Tomara, there is definitely a piece of me in this, too (doesn't all of our writing contain at least a shadow of the writer?).

    Gany, I can hear the story told with both male and female voices -- but how would I do it? I need to chat with my podcasting friends...

    Lou, yes. Just be.

    ThomG and Gracie, thank you for visiting! I'll be checking out your spaces shortly.

    Anyone here a Radiohead fan? One song has been pounding in my head for over a week and I was pleased to use a snippet from the song here. Can you find it?


  30. This is gorgeous, Linda. I love how you flipped it around to the opposite at the end. Life is so much this way, and I'm amazed how you are always able to capture it in so few words.