The world sneers at our schools:
our knowledge of geography  
just enough to locate Disneyland;
mathematics puzzling esoteric;
chemistry and physics the province of Asians.
 
But we find science elsewhere:
 
The physics of golf swing
fills books and video cassettes;
expensive tutors show us proper stance.
 
People crowd to watch  
Gamblers produce an avalanche of quarters,
only great finesse in handle pulling  
the way to get three plums.
 
Television’s poker players  
must make decisions more momentous
than those of neurosurgeons.
 
Others employ the laws of motion
to guide steel balls past dinging bells  
without provoking “tilt!”
 
Many do analyses of horses
before they make a bet at tracks,
know how many doubles Gehrig hit in ’42,
and calculate precisely victory odds
when any quarterback gets tennis elbow.
 
Even children little more than infants
manipulate computer keys with skill
to slay a slew of animated villains,
and old ladies do complicated sudokus.
 
Country boys, testosterone replete,
employ sufficient physics
to raise a pickup high above the ground
on giant rubber donuts.
 
So I can only sneer at Asian nerds
who seek a new prime number;
we are far beyond that trivia.
in mastery of what we master.

(2008)

free ironic

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