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Ai

Written by: Denise Duhamel | Biography
 There is a chimp named Ai who can count to five.
There's a poet named Ai whose selected poems Vice just won the National Book Award.
The name "Ai" is pronounced "I" so that whenever I talk about the poet Ai such as I'm teaching Ai's poems again this semester it sounds like I'm teaching my own poems or when I say I love Ai's work it sounds as if I'm saying I love my own poems but have poor grammar.
I haven't had a chance to talk much yet about this Japanese chimp who can arrange pictures in order of the number of objects contained in those pictures.
I just read about her for the first time yesterday, the fifth of January in the year 00 which I imagine would be a hard concept for Ai the chimp.
It feels weird writing 00 - I had to do it when I wrote my first check of the year 2000.
I think we should proclaim this year as the year of Olive Oyl, who is also an 00, but with letters instead of numbers.
I was in the Koko fan club for a while since I love gorillas, but then I moved around so much, the newsletters and requests for money stopped coming.
I wonder if Ai the poet is happy she shares a name with a gifted chimp.
To me, the most amazing thing about Ai the poet is she hardly ever writes an "I" poem about herself.
She crawls into the hearts of the cruelest men and writes about what it is like to be them, while I mostly curl in the bellies of the shattered women.
There's no evidence that one approach is better than the other.
There's no evidence that chimpanzees use numbers in the wild.
One expert said that perhaps chimpanzees count the number of predators they see.
I read on the web that John Wayne actually said, "I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them.
There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.
" So maybe chimps do count their enemies, to see if they have the advantage, but I'm a romantic - I like to think that Ai the poet and I mostly count our stanzas.
I like to think Ai the chimp mostly counts her bananas.



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