Sierra Nelson

x plus y = 1.

Formula for curtain rods hung without curtains.
Formula for cough syrup boiled down to hallucinogen.
Formula for hypotenuse of Brooklyn 10 blocks from the nearest subway.

x times the function of y.

Formula for exponential taxi fares in standing traffic cross-town.
Formula for 5 floors of sweaty stairs that smell of cabbage.
By integers: whiskey sour, whiskey rocks, straight up.

y in relation to function of x.

Ratio of song to spare change, which does not = music, sirens, yelling out of windows.
Formula for finding the last unbroken payphone (by law of Accelerated Entropy).
Formula for root of x without y: less than or equal to zero.

x divided by y.

Formula for 2 times hard winter subtract 1/2 of spring.
Formula of Bar 81 green bottles shelved in dim parallel.
Formula for belligerent man selling roses to bothered lovers.

x = 1 over x.

Formula for coffee and absence for breakfast.
x intersects y at the axis point of a diner near Union Square Park.
Trajectory from point (0,0) such that y = transience, x = despair.





It is difficult to understand the true but always changing relation between two variables—two people, a person and a city (esp. New York City), where you are in relation to where you want to be. Yearning for a solution, this poem attempts to graph a moment.