Ian Chung graduated from the University of Warwick with a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Creative Writing, where he is currently doing his MA in English Literature. His work has appeared in Angelic Dynamo, Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure, Foundling Review, Poetry Quarterly, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and The Cadaverine, among others. He was nominated by Camroc Press Review for Sundress Publications’ 2010 Best of the Net anthology. Currently, he reviews for Rum & Reviews Magazine, Sabotage Reviews and The Cadaverine, where he is also Fiction Editor. He also edits Eunoia Review and has recently joined The Conium Review as a guest writer.
To emphasise only the beautiful seems to me to be like a mathematical system that only concerns itself with positive numbers. – Paul Klee
Excuse me! Yes, you over there.
Where are your negative numbers?
Hand them over now, s’il vous plaît.
Can’t have them wandering about
At this time of the day, not when
The plodding positives are out.
What a sight that would be! Just think,
Pairs of numbers bumping into
Each other, only to vanish.
A most inconvenient business,
Simply dreadful. What did you say?
Oh yes, mathematics does get
Rather nondescript with them gone.
Well, I suppose it can’t be helped.
Heaven knows the trouble we had
When all were free to fraternise!
Us equals were overworked then,
What with those complex equations
To balance. Ah, speaking of which…
Never mind. I don’t suppose you’d
Have any imaginaries
Lurking about your person? No?
Glad to hear it. We weeded them
Out years ago, though we still have
The occasional intruder.
Of course we couldn’t have them here!
They mess things up. Always drifting,
They’re just of no practical use.
What do you mean it’s my job to
Help everyone find their places?
Haven’t they done so? Positives
Running free, lording it over
Negatives, and everyone else
Has long been shut out of this place.
Don’t you try to ruin things now…