From As Degeneracyby Shanxing Wang
I say, I merely mastered the method. The method of counting, coping, counterfeiting, and castrating. Teeth of helical, conical involute, spiral-bevel, and hypoid gears, and cylindrical rollers of heavy duty roller bearings in the received ideological machines in the recycled moral system. The method of statistical sampling and confidence estimation. Found numbers of unnatural deaths, and jammed numbers of foreign shortwave radio frequencies. In the last analysis it is method that counts. Everything else cunts. Everything cunts.
To go back to your earlier question about my age, I am 9, 1, and 1, an odd sequence of numerical events, odd numbers, positive numbers, rational numbers, I was never given a chance to mature. But if you carry out elementary arithmetic operations on every possible combination of these numbers, it might as well be even, prime, fractional, zero, negative, or irrational. I am not just a baby even in purely numerical sense. All answers are true depending on which I you are really into, and your point of view, that is your method of calculation.
With each newborn I, I grew further inwards from a hollow sphere like consecutive shrinking concentric spherical shells, approaching a vanishing dot in the center, which will be I the 4th, or I the ultimate, I in the last version, which sounds, looks, feels very much like the pure Iron. Silvery white, lustrous, malleable, ductile, conducting, and magnetic up to Curie temperature. My existence beyond numbers. Take my words, this is not a metaphor.
But my outer my previous selves never relent their grips on my newer inner self, and they, while being continually oxidized, corroded, pounded, only harden and thicken and press more after each new birth.
Me, or my head, that is my body, a steel ball of abstraction with tender thin layers within thick hard layers within even thicker and harder layers, with increasing carbon concentration along the outward normal direction, as a result of the decelerated inward carbon diffusion of soot of burnt but never completely buried dreams of dreams and cinders of burning memories of dreams of dreams.
Dear S: Are you the 48 slip systems in a iron or the never-melt hexagonal close-packed plate-like or column-like snowflakes on the mountaintop?
Or symbolically I = ∑i wi Ii where wi is the time-dependent weight whose functional form is contingent on the particular mechanisms operating in the birth process, with ∑i w = 1 i being positive integers from 1 to 3. I am talking about the mass. All the Is no matter how far the index i runs amount only to is.
She: What is is?
Is is not Si.
Is it the is that follows it in an affirmative sentence or the is which precedes it in a general interrogative? Or the Is are merely a misspelling of it? So is it.
Say it. Say it.
She: What is it?
It is not Ti (Titanium), is it?
It is nor TI (Texas Instrument), is it?
It is hot.
It is raining.
How many Is are necessary for the existence of us? What are the latent heat of fusion and the melting point for the crystalline Is to become the liquid we? When we meet again, isn’t it the way we used to sing?
Wang's "Mad Science in Imperial City" was the winner of 2006 Asian American Literary Award.