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Jungle Gym – a Confession
For reasons I don't clearly understand, and into which I am not minded to delve, I am somewhat averse to explaining my poems. However, I think it might be interesting to give some context around Jungle Gym as a poetry collection.
The inventor of mathematical logic, without which we would not now be living in the world we are, George Boole, was married to Mary Everest, a progressive educationalist and mathematician. They had a daughter, Mary Ellen who, in 1880, married George Hinton, bigamist, mathematician, science fiction writer and inventor of the word “tesseract” to refer to a cube extended into the fourth dimension. George and Mary had a son, Sebastian, who invented the jungle gym (in British English, the climbing frame) in 1920 in Chicago.
One way of representing the tesseract is as a net — the net of cube is a cross, the net of a tesseract is a hypercube — and that is what Salvador Dali used in his 1954 work Corpus Hypercubicus which shows the crucifixion of Christ on a hypercube cross. This shape is made of four cubes stacked on top of each other with further cubes extending from the four exposed faces of the second-top cube of the stack. And this shape is at the centre of a jungle gym, is fully encapsulated in the jungle gym. And there is a boy hanging upside down within that hypercube thinking about time itself.
For Hinton, consideration of the fourth dimension was a moral imperative, that an intuition of the fourth dimension was to move beyond the limitations of the right/left and the up/down, to position a person in an ego-less, inter-related and composite world. And that upside-down boy — I call him Jungle Jim, others call him Batboy — is doing exactly that, vibrating with a sense of unreality, of timelessness, puzzling his origins and his destination, trapped yet comforted by the constraints of the tesseract, trepidatious of what may lie beyond. And my aim in writing the collection was to perform a sort of senso-archaeology, a phren-ontology, a peri-epi-phenomenology of the consciousness of that inverted youth. And, during this excavation, perhaps to uncover how much of the boy persists in the man.
Martin Wakefield, London, 12 November 2021
images above were taken on Nov 9, during the Writers Kingston event #45 Poem Brut and Writing Cultures w/book launches from Chris Kerr, Patrick Cosgrove, Martin Wakefield and new performance readings from Saradha Soobrayen, Kayleigh Cassidy, Bob Bright, Jacqueline Ennis Cole & Michael Sutton at The Town House Building: Courtyard Venue 55-59 Penrhyn Rd, Kingston upon Thames KT1 2EE, United Kingdom
also by Martin Wakefield:
Prote(s)xt imprint Cat No: P-019 - Zugunruhe, paperback £3.00 buy
Martin lives and works in London