The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses series, published every year since
1976, is the most honored literary project in America.
Since 1976, hundreds of presses and thousands of writers of short stories, poetry
and essays have been represented in our annual collections. Each year most of the
writers and many of the presses are new to the series. Every volume contains an index
of past selections, plus lists of outstanding presses with addresses.
The Pushcart Prize has been a labor of love and independent spirits since its founding.
It is one of the last surviving literary co-ops from the 60's and 70's. Our legacy
is assured by donations to our Fellowships endowment.
ODE TO PRIME NUMBERS
Your name is ‘le seul.’
Undeconstructible and enigmatically unyielding.
As straight as a feather, vividly white as well, is the fragment of bone in the depth
of entwined source codes. You never know since when the lips of the cognoscenti started
testing on you: They longed to know how the fluttering sequences of binary numbers
smell, which scintillate between positive and negative infinity. Ambery? Or just
Their coarseness hampered their forlorn attempt to reach you; their lust to disassemble
left them nothing but despair and dirty, worn gloves.
Just as Alphonse de Polignac once said: There is a mirror image of you in the fathomless
universe, forever 2 degrees apart from where you are located. You almost felt her
sometimes … You have spared no vision or hearing in your exploratory search for her:
yet you sank into an ocean of molecules—banal replicas of one another, and then a
moor of double helixes blooming and withering ephemerally. All you could see is waving
hyphae, stretching along fissures between clusters of stars, whose glimmers tasted
so antiquely astringent!
You were chosen out of all others since you were a ripe embryo. Time-roughened hands
with sophisticate calmness, combed through and smoothed out kernels of corn, like
what Fate did to centillion bytes of data. The blazing ibis from the east condescended
to them like a flash of wisdom—devoutly before her they winnowed away chaff and dust,
while you clung to the center of the giant mesh, like a rare butterfly … They let
you nestle up among their fingers, held you to the light and murmured with a Mediterranean
The streets that have supplied you with all colors and sounds of life are in a parallel
system to theirs. When you saunter down to the seaside, hands in pockets, local people
approaching you with buckets of olives and sardines cannot actually meet you, as
if you were walking past this place at different times of day. They indulge in their
neon nights while you embrace your sapphire days. Gradually you turn from strangers
to dancing partners, lovers and then rivals, in the revelry of darkness!
Growth curves of everything are invisible, but to the stars they appear as emerald
waves, rising from feebleness to robustness, soaring marvelously, and then plunging,
increasingly close to zero. Just as what the frequency of prime numbers reveals,
they end up in decay as you end up in solitude. You are destined to be the last celestial
body over seven thousand miles of graveyards.
[Voice-over 1] When you glanced away beyond tracks of time, suddenly he came into
view, emerging from underneath the surface of the ethereal, gleaming with vigor and
tenacity. Those attributes of his do not perish with the body, or even with the soul.
He is incarnated everywhere, in weather, energy, and even Zen. A roots-stems-leaves
theory could never demystify the origin of him or the canopy above, which could be
traced back to Hadean time.
[Voice-over 2] Compared to the entire history of time, phantasmagoric voices rustling
through those lines are nothing but drops of liquid in vascular bundles of the universe.
Ears which hear them would turn away shyly like autumn leaves. When there drips out
mercury, whoever its sound reaches will be doomed.
[Voice-over 3] It has been kept secret, that the Fate of the human race had been
long predicted, by the final scale the convex meniscus rose to.