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Why is disorder increasing in the same direction of time as that in which the universe is expanding? Surely, we could seek free information in remaindered textbooks and technical articles, but we might also contemplate purchasing a Master of Fine Arts degree. Recall that even for Van Gogh, who strove to annihilate Intuition, there were few things more invigorating in art than a newly acquired mastery. For instance, the neophyte may speculate that when Jill spied the apple, she said, “Yum, yum!” But she may have said, “What an agreeable apple!” or “I bet that apple would taste first-class, jammed in a pig’s maw.” And while one might stare in horror at the mechanized social order swallowing colleagues and friends, the Intuitionist proceeds from his/her parallel terror to endeavor to obliterate the “system of conclusion” upon which is constructed the feared Order of Established Things.

Similarly, you may find yourself under the authority of a waning moon and 14 grams of psilocybe cubensis, sitting in a cow pasture with your left leg straight out in front of you and your right leg bent at your side. With your left hand behind your back and your right hand in the clover, you may note from your new vantage point how Venus’ rotation is somewhat curious in that it is both unhurried and retrograde. It may seem only natural to inquire how it is that the periods of Venus’ rotation and of her orbit are synchronized such that she consistently— almost insistently—presents the same face toward Earth when the two planets are at their closest approach.

Mind you, I’ve found that one cannot be too cautious when subjecting said planet to a Standardized Inspection (an inspection painstakingly constructed so that the questions, the conditions for administering, and the scoring formulas are consistent, as measured by the atomic clock.) Just yesterday I had an argument with an expatriate at the University of Mozambique, a philosopher of science. Turns out it was not quite dawn on her shore. “There are nine planets in our solar system,” she whispered—the connection failing, dissolving in sea spray. “There were nine planets before there were any humans or passions or words. That means the number nine existed well before we knew. . . . Whatever. So, how are you?”


© 2003 Christian Peet. Published in the chapbook, The Nines (Book 1), from Palm Press. Originally appeared in SleepingFish.

The nine movements of Book 1 include mutations born of an Edge.org interview with mathematician and philosopher Reuben Hersh, as well as a variety of appropriated critical, scientific, and instructional texts chosen randomly from the back of the author’s car after a cross-country exodus: including George F. Adams’ and Jerome Wykoff’s Landforms (A Golden Guide); Kenneth Clark’s Landscape Into Art; Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time; Eric N. Franklin’s and William H. Watkins’ Breakdance!; Anne Waldman’s and Marilyn Webb’s collection of lectures by visiting authors, Talking Poetics from Naropa Institute; and James Webb’s The Occult Establishment.