Checking the Arithmetic

Dave Stringer

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If life were a cool calculation 
where all of the numbers compute,
then one could sum all of creation
and reduce it all down to the root.

But my mind is a multiplication 
of chance and illusion and doubt:
I’m confused and impatient, 
a fool at foundation.
I never will figure it out.

Am I just a mutation with a curious urge?
An endless vexation, a mistake that recurs?
A singular statistic, a product of the dice?
Checking the arithmetic, it’s not quite right...

I questioned a mathematician: 
my life is uncertain and strange,
tell me what of the human condition 
can the priesthood of science explain?
She said: life is a state of transition, 
a pattern of chaos and change:
of loss and division
and love insufficient
to answer the problem of pain.

Am I just a tangle of jumping nerves
or a point on a line describing a curve
flickering in physics’ cinema of sight?
Checking the arithmetic and it’s not quite right...

If I only know what I am feeling
and can’t prove the world outside,
then standing or kneeling
or staring at the ceiling
you’ve gotta have faith as your guide.

The world of sensation 
is a puzzling equation,
a persistent hallucination
so you’ve gotta have faith as your eye...

Am I just an ache in a painful world
dreaming awake in a reciprocal blur
I’m baffled beyond logic and searching for insight,
checking the arithmetic, it’s not quite right....

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Submitted on June 15, 2018

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    "Checking the Arithmetic Lyrics." Lyrics.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 26 Nov. 2021. <https://www.lyrics.com/sublyric/50766/Checking+the+Arithmetic>.

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