My Fall Out Boy AP Calculus Blues

March 6, 2009

Louder Than a Bomb

Noor Hasan

Poet: Noor Hasan, 17

Noor is a junior at Niles West High School. This is her second year participating in Louder Than a Bomb.



My Fall Out Boy AP Calculus Blues
Tomorrow is the AP Calculus Test.
My mind is a haze of differential functions and limits.
As I attack this mathematical mess,
My eyes look at the calendar.
Today is May 20th,
It is circled and has stars all around it,
A tattooed reminder of the Fall Out Boy concert I am not at.

My friend Christa is in line at the House of Blues.
I am not.
She camped outside the venue the night before with a sleeping bag
For a front row spot and to avoid the mosh pit.
I did not.

I am placing my beastly blue calculus book on the right side of my desk.
Seven number two pencils aligned parallel to the reading lamp.
Perpendicular to the spiral notebook.
My TI-84 calculator sits in my lap.

I am so ready for this.

Christa's face is pressed against the window of the entrance,
Trying to get Pete Wentz's attention,
But there's no way she'll meet him!
At least that's what I tell myself.

As I'm finding the anti-derivative,
My cell phone rings and I flip it open to the message from Christa.
Much to my dismay it reads,
“OMG, I met Pete Wentz and he signed my CD with his eyeliner!”

It's okay, who cares!
Meeting Pete Wentz will not improve my college applications.
I am taking my future into consideration.

So I continue on my quest to find
The derivative of the third prime But math makes no sense.
The only equation in my head factors
The number of people behind Christa in the pit,
Multiplied by the number of equations in front of me.
The velocity of the booming bass crosses the origin and decreases to silence at my desk.

And instead of graphing the integral,
I'm drawing a fun versus time graph that illustrates
Christa's fun increasing exponentially
And the graph of my mood decreasing steadily.
The shape of my evening concaves down,
Negative tangent lines in the shape of a frown
Are converse to the parabola of hands
Reaching for the ceiling at the House of Blues,
Reaching forward to the stage,
Proving that the absolute value of music is rock.

An asymptote is a linear graph where no function can approach.
No fun can approach me here at my desk in Skokie.
A curve and a line extend infinitely on a graph without touching.
This is the metaphor for my evening; I am the asymptote.
This is constant.
I am incapable of getting to the show.
I will not know firsthand the slopes of stage diving.
These limits prevent me from pushing my limits,
Driving the graph of my anger back down to zero,
Because tonight, the graph of music is undefined.

So to celebrate my wise decision,
I toss my bulky blue calculus book to the edge,
Break four chewed up number two pencils in half,
Stab one into the shade of the reading lamp,
Throw my tattered spiral notebook across the room,
And light a match with the melting batteries of my calculator.
I wave my cell phone in the air, singing,
“I'm going down, down in an earlier round and sugar we're going down swinging.”

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