The Magic Ball as a (Representational) Diagram

By | 15 September 2022

[See Fig. 1 below to print and construct the poem.]

Fig. 1 An Unfolded Poem
(on one of its sides)

Sidenote: An Adjacent Description of Folding

4. is

this word is written between checkerboard creases

reminiscent of calligraphy worksheets in Chinese class, where

a single character is written repeatedly in boxy borders;

the result is almost Steinian:

“is” is “is” is “is”

3. box guide

a piece of paper folded and unfurled:

folded until it makes a soundless accordion

first along its width

then along its length:

thirty-two by eight.

5. unfurl and fold

longitudinal creases dictate the lengthwise pleats

(although each unit along the eight is also divided into three with pencil marks)

the paper is crimped until it resembles window shutters

6. fold it again

reshape the instrument through its latitudes:

the paper is folded again along the guides

1. idea

i had been doom scrolling on my phone when

i came across a video of a magic ball made from scrap—

its motion is filmed on a smartphone

in front of someone’s dining room—

while i,

(most likely) prostate on the lounge,

was suddenly enraptured

7. pit stop: it should be crimped across after (6)

i imagine dragon scales but scales of any creature would be probable and

8. raise and meet

pleats or ridges raised—

shark-fin shapes over calm water

or mountains pulled from the ground—

the act bends the spine

creating an arc or the letter C,

let the edges of the accordion meet

until it makes an ellipsoid earth-shape

(9.) glue it and wait

10. magic

once it is set,

let the little paper ball cave into itself

until it makes a new shape:

a mathematical form from algebra class—

a two-sided trumpet—

then fold it onto itself

again and again

from ball to fluted shape then ball to fluted shape

again and again

1.5 the word is simple

motion and form depict the meaning of the word

my English teacher once said,

“poetry is about how things are said”

11. Fig 1

i cut along the line

and repeat from 3.

read the rows of “is” as they overlap—

encroaching over borders—

and the columns as they are squished in space

or expanded

i think of the modes of is-es

maybe those that

i hold on my phone




people in Zoom boxes

with their cups of tea—


those is-es that

straight lines

struggle to depict

i fold across longitudes and latitudes

home is

14.630238, 121.004109

here is

-33.687340, 150.312842

a piece of paper is

a shape-shifting


2. The Real Folding Guide: YouTube

keyword search: infinity, origami, ball

referenced result:

“Origami: MAGIC BALL – Yakomoga EASY origami tutorial”
uploaded by Easy Origami – Yakomoga on Jan. 26, 2019

A pdf version of Fig 1 can also be found here.

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