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Using the numerical structure of pi (3.1415), Xenobiotic Circuitry is an excerpted collaborative epic poem by Canadian poet Sarah Burgoyne and the American poet Vi Khi Nao that follows the omniscient voluble conversations and complaints of ad hoc biblical characters as they attempt to make sense of themselves on an ordered, disordered planet. Burgoyne and Nao, who have never met, began this project after discovering a mutual love of math and collaborations that never end. With four volumes presently completed, Anachronistic in proportion, this collection attempts to queer and rewrite myths in precise, restrictive numerical pi chronology, yet its verses remain free and ludic, time-travelling at will and often looping in present-day figures and concerns. Feministic, irreverent, and supremely loquacious, Xenobiotic Circuitry presents infinity as something reachable yet unrelated to linear time.


6 My angels have littered the road
6 with empty snail shells after escargot
6 as if they had expected me
5 to crunch among them like
5 bivalves having semi-aquatic gallops on
7 scallops I didn’t even get to select
3 before being elected
0 as President of Heaven. Some say my penchant for seafood outweighs my
9 sacrilegious monologue on Engel’s behavioral influence over Marx’s spa
2 appropriate robe.
5 Marx, like Job, was so
4 verbose about his extremely
7 indigent tendencies that I felt compelled to
1 smite
1 his
0 nose with melasma, his family with plague, his animals with insanity, his crops with demons, and after all that
5 his wife, Jenny, refused to end
5 her online reviewing of me
7 for this German newspaper, The Rheinische Zeitung.
8 The portraits were not flattering is a euphemism
5 for having a mistress pre-selected
3 before telling your
7 project manager that a high libido must
6 not be the only revolutionary
3 condition for modern
4 romances. In this case
6 death became the primary method in
6 which to sufficiently grieve the inevitable.
8 Existence is aware that consciousness must reflect its
2 narcissistic twin
0 on the paedomorphic billboard of yesterday in order to have infinite access to
6 oblivion-denying robocops who litter the cities
5 with vibratile vibracula (not Dracula)
3 but actual vibrators
1 I
0 fancified by giving them such a cool name, hiking the price, which displeased Karl and Jenny immensely.
9 It is quite a misfortune that they couldn’t capitalize
8 on their Godphobia or invest in the angelmarket
9 whose annual dividends comprised of the following perks: ecclesiastical
6 dividends, demonizing power protection, The Return
5 of Ectothermic Sins to its
2 place in
6 the Mycenaean, Peloponnesus culture, Homeric shield
9 atop the sailboat situated at its center. Sins ooze
1 apps
8 of the wellness variety, making one’s digital wallet
6 the color and dimension of Talulah’s
2 new boyfriend.
0 Elon Musk would have loved it – especially after selling about five billion dollars worth of his own Tesla stock
5 to eel Star Link across
6 United Statesian nontaxable Biden blue pochette
4 collectibles to impress his
7 spatial delivery of ending world hunger by
6 4022. When money is a measure
9 of their XYO relationship with geospatial location in Dubai
3 all is not
1 well
2 in Walmart.
5 Especially isle nine and eleven
7 where the walls of the buildings crack
0 and there are several potholes with salt water pooling and a family of archelon turtles trying to play Marco Polo with each other while sipping on neon-colored straws
5 protruding from coconuts. “Marco!” the
8 prehistoric, semi-extravagant freshwater reptile hollers boisterously underneath the
6 ample shelter of a lily pad
3 while reaching for
5 the tequila dropped by late-night
6 strawberry-eating bouncers. The straw falls immediately
6 from the coconut hole into the
2 small mouth
0 of sound coming from the drill the carpenter next door was using to insulate his very important ceiling from the weight of disapproval he felt from both his husband and child.
1 It
8 wasn’t pretty but the straw spaghettified as it
5 released its inner tube of
5 nut juice and turtle saliva
8 and hesperornithiformic angst for having colonized the sea
1 like
0 the British when they “visited” India for pure peregrinating annihilation and to acquire yoga positions for commercial
0 shenanigans disseminating each position after a sloppy renaming (downward dog, happy baby, legs-behind-the-head) via
7 misguided propagandadic sexual, procreative impulses designed to
2 prickle even
9 the least stimulated members of the British monarchs and
3 wig-wrestle them into
6 surrendering their House of Saxe-Coburg and
0 prim bobettes to the teeming crowd beyond the gate. Yes, the wellness industry,
6 including the weight management of the
5 disgraced Prince Andrew since his
9 morbid corpulent relationships with Epstein and sexual abuse near
8 the inner ear canal of his immortal mother
7 and the inferior hypophyseal artery of his
6 intracranial branch of his posterior communicate
4 the division between two
8 dark nights of the soul twinned by the
6 soft bellow below the elbowed crowberry
1 bog.
1 Bogusness
7 is the isthmus of the awaited result.
9 Such an insult of Belarus solidarity, such protests, such
1 a
0 babelicious babesiasis invented for the Romanian bacteriologist only inflames the tick memory and provokes black urine to
4 considerably crouch couches of
5 daffodiled daughters. In the daikon
3 egress of inevitable
3 feminine facecloth, Facetime
4 gregarious gainsayers of glee
8 haggling hairbreadthed, half-assed, half-volleyed hailstorms again and again
8 It is interesting how igloos ignite when incentivized
5 jägerbombs jingle in joyless Jovian
0 kegel/kickboxing classes. Krispy Kreme is kind of klanny, kay? Kant categorizes imperatives to
3 libelously label liberalists
4 muscling money and meat-eating
6 into nanofossils, nanorobots, and no-frill nociceptors.
1 Ô
1 pilgrim,
3 quantify your quandary
6 right now, right away, righteously raging
5 sneak-peeks at Scylla’s strait!
7 Teleporting, tone-deaf quantum dialing of 23rd century
6 ununionized united Uranusian underdwellers undertake unreal
8 vanquished vampires and victims of viceless, voiceless, vicissitudinal
6 wayfarers waxing Wordsworthian, wafting wafers, whiffings
7 xiphoid, xanthic x-rayed, x-rated xenophobes and xenografs!
5 Yes, your Yiddish yesterday’s yellowing
3 zetetic zealot zebras
2 Alas, artichokes
4 born unevenly across the
9 countertops the angels wanted to replace with Calacatta marble
4 devilishly smile at me
4 eager to enter the
1 figurative
6 ghoulish light of the fluorescent overhead.
6 Half-baked placid gateau capable of deliquescence
8 ignites in the moonlight, reads the latest headline
0 jovially for no reason as omicron moves rapidly and steadily across the different sectors of football faith (especially for Josh Allen who is denied entrance into Pro Bowl while Lamar Jackson
3 kindles old flames
9 liable for disingenuity, capable of dismissing 3734 passing yards
6 merely as millimeters, and metes out
2 never similar
6 oms as he enters frenzied nirvana).
5 Perennially we have expected the
7 queries of angels to arrive in untranslatable
9 requiem, incapable of being transmutable and not tailgated by
7 stifling sorrow of those receiving these messages.
8 Tired, un-concretely condemned, the pre-virtuous angels, Satan not
7 unlike her ex-husband God, cared little about them.
7 Vicars have apostlistically wandered the earth like
1 wind
8 xeroxed by time, reason, distance, and windowless immortality
5 yet still in sharp relief.
5 Zero intolerance for African weaverbirds
6 (aliens might be angels after all)
0 balloons capable of dismantling bishopric tendencies such as praying on a mountain or with a hat on, with no privacy, no primacy, no epistolary episcopacy nor subservient dependencies while
8 catcalling the crystal in the vale of soul-making.
4 Diverting away from mainland
5 effete effortlessness, an alien’s endless
5 focaccia is flavored by madness
2 (geological discrepancies).
9 Hematophagous Hades, despite the different shades of preimposed-empyrean innocence,
6 ignited Hyrda-phobia in the hearts of
5 jovial sub-archangels who jauntily subjected
4 kindergarteners to Latin prayer
1 latexed
2 mildly with
6 no nonsense Septuagint translations of Hejira
6 once Muhammed’s flight now Joni Mitchell’s
5 piaffing of watered-down “strawberry ache”.
4 Qualifying the flight as
0 “raw milk spoiled over a pot of cumulus clouds processed for a celestial funeral”
8 seventeen angels thought they could outfly their counterparts.
5 They thought they could bushwhack
3 under zigzag clover
0 ventriloquized vines designed for cuckolded husbands with apoplectic and dyspeptic
6 wives wielding pink bottles of Pepto-Bismol
1 Xeroxed
4 yet convincing in 2D
3 zany zebra stripes
4 attract alternative anteaters, ask
4 bohemian bourgeois for capitalistic
4 corporate ladders for their
3 dodecaphonic disciples who
1 eschew
8 fallible fundamental Christians. They pontificate days and nights
5 Gregorianly, gifting glossolalia to giddy
8 haggard ghosts as they recite their emaciated prayers
6 in streamers of lace and ice
7 juvenile orisons of supplication, implorations of hope,
6 kaleidoscopic colloquies of eternal loving kindness
9 laced with scents of sage, oregano, turmeric, marjoram, and
7 maybe clove, but all doused in holiness
5 never once in lime juice
1 or
4 pomegranate serum infused with
5 quail song, Fainting through chimneys
6 rarely does the arrow of deception
6 sluice time so completely, not a
4 tall glass of water
0 undulating in the winter light filters through snow-drenched glass—a tall glass of water in snow and by snow, glass, a liquid
6 victim of chance, an aqueous decision
8 wafting in water, an undecidedness ultimately, an equanimous
0 xerascapic practice in the barren hemichordates where the post-aquatic nights shift and
0 yawp in both directions at once, mocking stunted acorn worms, propelling them toward refuge in the deep sea.
7 Zorses learn about morse code too late.
0 A long time ago, apples articulated a binary morality, a hypothesis of waxed badness glistening in crimson on the branches of a sorrowful tree
0 because the impossible had arrived taking its deciphering machine with it to the edge
2 of counsel.
3 Dao Strom’s instrument
7 evinces the lambent jewel of breathing sound
8 fingerlicks the echo inside its own “inevitable error”
7 gnosticizes the gain in self’s decreation, like
7 hungry Russian military men in their Ukrainian
6 ire. Yes, that is why such
5 judicial desire often paves the
9 kinky path to an unalterable fate or future. Indifferent
1 law-abiding
3 mensches meditate morosely
4 Nicotine-awaiting angels reform
4 opiate night doldrums while
0 penguin-driven drug dealers
1 quantify
7 radical opium on ice as something not
1 suitable
2 to two
7 unicorns whose love for each other is
4 very disorganized sexually and
9 withholds crucial information about harboring certain secret metamour collections
4 Xenobiotic circuitry of the
7 yurt I move to your in dreams
0 zabaglione-wanting as nothing changes within the one-sided battle inside myself. I await the future self to relinquish its very much delayed triumphant
4 arrival to an exit
2 before transformation
0 concedes to stagnancy. I am unable to maintain strict daily routines
5 doable only for 17 days
6 excluding weekends and days I feel
2 fatally fainéant
2 gregarious but
3 honestly deceptive. Only
0 interested journal readers will uncover the undailiness of my “daily routine” after my death, which will be triumphant also, having duped my life-coaching clients who look up to me for my Herculian quantity of discipline.
5 Juvenile as it may seem
3 klondike bars still
8 leak their synthetic cream, coconut oil, processed cocoa
9 magnitudally across the visions of my childhood, while I
9 nocturnally await the sketchy hours in which the restrained
4 operatic opium orates my
5 plinth’s virtues on which I
6 queerly devise a war-torn plan to
1 resuscitate
3 seven savant soldiers
1 tenderly
4 upwardly, un-Castro-ly, mournfully, and
0 vestigially. Their traces will be found only in their animal gait, their sidetrot moving along
7 whimsically without a military mouth guiding their
1 xylophonic
1 youth.
2 Zeus-like, I
7 ambush a woman, a child-like goddess, maybe
0 beside a coruscating stream or rollicking meadow, maybe making cool tofu and watercress salad, maybe
0 caressing the four forgotten toes of a dandelion near a bonsai garden and a military training camp
0 detonating so near the zoo the zookeepers sedate their elephants
4 (eloquently kibitzing a piano
0 fainting under an angry sonata).
7 Great ideas are often born from my
8 hysteria, such as edible nasturtium flowers and granulated
5 inorganic stimulants. I have applied
4 jojoba oil to the
7 koala formula and discovered that arboreal marsupials
3 love supple epidermides.
3 My nonexistent mother
2 nourished only
6 obedient obelisks to become future gods
9 phallocentrically which thus established patriarchy as a traditional accompaniment
9 Queerly I justify all of my patriarchal appetite within
3 reams of orated
9 sugar. I reason that glucose for succulent feminists
0 tirelessly titters the liberatory discourse with pomp and exclamation, divesting each speech of its necessary solemnity in the face of such erect obelisks
8 Usually I abbreviate your understanding of my foreign
1 viscera
4 with brief details about
5 x-rated movies to fill in
4 your misguided cursory gaze
6 zombifying my need to endlessly teach
6 an eyeball, not mechanicalized by AI,
4 better to train itself
6 cautiously because digital keys driven by
4 dilapidated, dulled, deformed fingers
5 evade emptiness & kinesthetic amnesia with
8 felt love, not thought or known love, but
8 gregarious love numerically chauffeured & transported by the
0 helium-induced inloveness of the sun’s core with life-on-earth
7 inaccurately and indecently enclosed in an indecipherable
9 jugular—the jugular of me, God, from which I
7 kinkily condemn those who choose to suppress
2 lilac dew
7 moaning inconspicuously amongst my favorite biblical figure:
0 neither Naaman, nor Nabal, nor Naboth, nor Nadab, nor Nahash, nor Nahum, nor Naomi, nor Naphtali, nor Nathan, nor Nathanael, nor Naum, nor Nebuchadnezzar, nor Nehemiah, nor Nethaniah, nor Nicanor, nor Nicodemus, nor Nimrod, nor Noah, nor, Noah. No,
8 opulent circumstances can alter my overt nepotic desire
2 potently, so
6 queerly. I suspect that those who
6 roll and roil amid my loquacious
8 soliloquy and my glutinous decision to glottaly punish
3 titular characters only.
0 Under no circumstance would I want to deviate from my wife’s sinister and destructive habit of inviting Orpheus to
6 vinter duels in pools of grapes
3 withering fragitiously against
4 xeroxed images of unmentionables
3 yielding mousy sirens
2 zipping up
8 absinth’s lips and preventing me from praying and
5 belaboring my ink-dipped, refined-by-fire, concrete-etched
8 cumin-scented penis against life’s war-torn piece of paper.
7 Describe whom I should have texted because
8 ethereal etchants, ethnic etalons, autistic etuis, and abnegating
5 funicular-shaped protests stream from open-mouthed
6 gamefish and give my impoverished imagination
9 hippopotamus-shaped aggression opened wide against those radical, kindhearted Satanists
8 It goes without saying that my grassroots sentiment
3 jostles your morality
0 konimeter by konimeter and has led me down a very dark, melancholic path, the kind that
5 licks at your heels, passes
2 Modest Mussorgsky
3 nurtured bald mountains
5 on the disquieted seabed side
8 prolifically. I listen to his music because it
0 rubescently detaches me from the Romantic Period ironically. His preposterous, illogical lyrical transgressive
8 salt-coated tone poems stir me with oceanic mysticism.
9 Thus I float and flee and pontificate without hairbrained
3 utensils made for
3 violaceous vocal women
0 who do smile yoga to lift their moods while walking under overheated city streets slightly enraged.
6 Xboxes, arcades, handheld virtual reality games
5 yolk me to reality without
7 zero-emission, the kind that doesn’t pollute the
5 atmospheric music Satan insisted on
7 beatboxing over and over just to release
4 cortisol in my nervous
0 decorum, where my love for gray matter, fentanyl overdose, and emotional
exhaustion has the ability to slow down my breath and paralyze my
6 euphoric hedgehogs with fright. Wouldn’t you
7 forego your love for Elon Musk for
9 giant moonlit rabbits on a lawn, painted amid lavender?
5 How I crave the silence
4 in cool mornings, especially
5 just before the Cebu flowerpecker
7 kicks the last bud from the tree
1 loansharkingly
6 therefore muting my overwhelming desire to
3 narrate the preexisting
7 alphabetical constraint as too constraining.


SARAH BURGOYNE is a Canadian experimental poet. Her second collection, Because the Sun was published with Coach House Books in April 2021 and was nominated for the A.M. Klein Prize in Poetry. Her first collection Saint Twin (Mansfield: 2016) was a finalist for the A.M. Klein Prize in Poetry (2016), awarded a prize from l’Académie de la vie littéraire (2017) and shortlisted for a Canadian ReLit Award. Other works have appeared in journals across Canada and the U.S., have been featured in scores by American composer J.P. Merz and have appeared with or alongside the visual art of Susanna Barlow, Jamie Macaulay and Joani Tremblay.
VI KHI NAO is the author of seven poetry collections & of the short stories collection, A Brief Alphabet of Torture (winner of the 2016 FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize), the novel, Swimming with Dead Stars. Her poetry collection, The Old Philosopher, won the Nightboat Books Prize for Poetry in 2014. Her book, Suicide: the Autoimmune Disorder of the Psyche is out of 11:11 in Spring 2023. The Fall 2019 fellow at the Black Mountain Institute, her work includes poetry, fiction, film and cross-genre collaboration. She was the 2022 recipient of the Jim Duggins, PhD Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize.