Math's Problem | Teen Ink

# Math's Problem

February 10, 2013

Life was simple enough
as 2+2=4
When Math was
a connect-the-dots snowman.
not a calculator program.

Then the parade of confusion marched through
the elementary school in the following order of operations:
division and subtraction
multiplication and fractions
exponents and other torture contraptions.

I read so much, my parents worried
I would disappear.
I liked getting lost in words because
they worked in fragments, but
didn't divide me into shards of fractions
with every question
I got wrong.
My teacher reduced me to the
lowest common denominator
of the classroom
I stumbled down the right-angled corner
the wrong way, grasping for a hand,
but only finding the arm of a triangle.
I was so slow my times table even
counted ticked down to zero times zero,
and tapping hands would remove
the remainder of the scribbles someone told
me was math.

Formulas should feed crying babies,
and my prime should be my best.
Pi should be blackberry, apple and cinnamon,
smelling of grandma's house,
and not 3.14159.
A plane should fly above clouds to
Eiffel towers and pyramids, and jungles.
A cone should be waffle, and stacked
with five scoops of chocolate blast ice cream.
Sometimes when I did math,
I pretended that angle was spelt
angel and put a halo around
a vertex where mistaken lines mangled

If math is the language with which God wrote the universe,
then why did He need to use words to make us understand.
Math's disciples call it the new God
because numbers have disproved Him.
But this is a secular school system.
And the religion of right or wrong
belongs in the dusty bible of equations.

There is no politics in Math's simple world
I argue with exponents until they become irrational.
There is no "why" aside from Y= mx+b.
I can't challenge the prime motives of a decimal.
radicals will never start the revolution.

I don't use my Ti-83 to find the equation
of early morning
strawberry-smoothie slurping
sunrise-watching

1000 years ago, when Aristotle kicked off
his sandals after a long day of philosophising,
he didn't look to his abacus
to tell him the meaning of life.

Math tries to mark our faces with a golden ratio
expecting the world to fall into a prefect square.
But there is a hole in Math's algorithm net
because sometimes the whole
is greater than the sum of its parts.

Even back in preschool I was forced to draw lines and circles
when all I wanted was to take crayons to the wall
and recreate Starry Night
without using my protractor to mark the
degrees between brushstrokes.

I hate math.
But not because I don't understand.
Let's face it, no one needs
an enigma machine to crack the code.

I hate math
because it doesn't understand me.
My heart leaps up
when I behold a rainbow
and not a parabola.

I guess I was always a word type