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Moving Bases

“Have you done the stocks today?”

“It’s all there.”

“Huh.” He slid his chair. His head bowed
toward the newspaper. “Ryanair is
up 0.5%?”

“Yeah, and Dalata is down by 0.5. “

Typically he would do the stocks
alone each morning at his
kitchen table. He would start by
scanning for the number five
or hoped for five to make its way
into his calculations.

In its form, the digit varies on
its lower half.

It has two bends
of equal importance.

The muscle is in its curvy part.

The semi circle is generally drawn
with affection. Its wheelie bottom,
so sweet and precarious.
He thought about how silly his legs
were. How much more solid his
singular upper body feels.

How every time the number five has
a gracious dependence on its lower
half, knowing there would be less
risk, less stress if its straight edges
lay in its foundation. But it knows
that it works, each time grazing the
newspaper column’s base.

In fact it is a curve at the bottom
that distinguishes the number
from the frame. These dependable
margins, filled with one of nine
forms, varying each time, delivering
every time. Confident in evidence
and hopeful in nonsense.

Four was a good one too.
Comforting, dependable. For him it
was a right angle held up by another
right angle only the shorter part is
shoved into anchorage and unseen.

It was the top half of five that
informed his decision on what to
invest in and the bottom brought
them into action.

Surges curbed by
right angle definition,
ballpoint can bleed a little
onto newsprint
both uncoated and porous
pen tip and paper meet
and suspend particles
before they settle.

Droplets make image.

Carbon black in its pen,
and seen complexities
when pressed
in columns.
What was and what is
side by side.
Simply in a daily newspaper
collaged into reliable graphs
from each day.

It is that we must remain fixed
on a shifting ground. Depend
on the relationship that is
initiated by the unknowable. To
connect with the verifiable and
measured. Coexistence between
an inconvenience and a known.
Memorised marks that occupy a pin
pointed space, ready to be attached
to a wobbly beginning.

He wondered,

How far can a resemblance be
pushed into a suggestion?

Even if it’s written in a rush
a curve is clear.

When we draw the number five
we repeat and create in one go.

There is one way to draw the right
angle and more than one way to
draw a curve.

Look no further than the stocks.

Ninety-degree angle.


Inside the ink a binary indicating a
perfect pitch:

from coal and oil, his pen
particles carrying an
electrical charge and
membranes smaller in
dimension than molecules
that try to move through.

On days when no fives were
needed, he started to attach
handmade wheels to objects in his
kitchen. Cutting boards, lamps,
anything angular was given a wheel.
He was badly hooked on the delight
of the number five’s dependency
on curvature. He needed it all around
him. He embodied it too. If he was
sitting still, he emphasised the solidity
of his upper body to give an illusion
of movement to his tucked in legs.

He would assure the things around
him while he made their wheels:
An unknowable beginning is the
only way to create sustainable ends.

Just when his rooms were almost
unusable (wheels everywhere, made
of cereal-box card and brown tape,
attracting hair and dust) for ten
consecutive days he got to draw a
five in the paper. His need to spill
five’s form on to everything around
him receded. The stocks saved
him. He pictured healthy reefs and
light bending into fissured rocks in
every dot of his marks. He felt the
sensation of arriving at a curve once
he mapped out the angle. He would
lean back on his chair and look
at it, how incredible that he drew
the angle first yet it appears to be
held up by a curve. As he grew, his
children ran around him, making
races and racket out of his altered things.

Critical Bastards Magazine, Hope, Issue 14, 2017