Philosophers at the Cafe

I had to look in my old philosophy book to remember half the things I needed for this poem.

If you walk through the doors,

And if your thing is noticing table numbers,

You will see they are not numbers

At all,

But philosophers.

If you sit at Table Rousseau,

All your food will be organic.

Your napkin will be imprinted with

Quotes from ‘The Social Contract’

And your drink today will be

But a glass of water.

If you sit at Table Plato,

Your menu will be brought over,

But will not be accompanied with food.

For life is but ‘a dance of shadows’

And what is the point of eating

When one’s life should not be about

Worldly pleasures?

If you sit at Table Nietzsche,

You will be served only with a

Long black,

From which you may stare into the

Empty blackness that does

Mirror the world.

If you sit at Table Freud,

You will be served a

Very suspicious looking

Breadstick.

If you sit at Table Marx,

You will only be served as much coffee

As the person on the table next to you.

Unless you are a capitalist,

In which case

You will be thrown out.

If you sit on Table Rorty

(as he is a known existentialist),

You will be expected to

Upend your table and turn to your

Neighbour,

Expecting him to do the same.

If you sit at Table Aristotle,

You will be expected to order

By yourself.

But if you stay on,

Although your food was

Organic,

Imaginary or

Suspicious,

You will meet a very interesting persona.

He hardly ever strays from the kitchens,

Where he makes every order

From scratch.

But when he does venture out,

You will find him

Cleanly shaven with

Very white teeth.

And he will introduce himself

As the

God of the Philosophers.

By the way, I’m not religious.

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The Blue Wood

The blue wood.

It is a place where

Nobody laughs

(Trees cannot laugh)

And gossip does not exist.

The cool air is not

Gunked with fumes,

It is

Breathable.

Only the metronome sound

Of a woodpecker and the

Slow, sighing swish

Of the trees in the wind

Can be heard.

 

In this wood,

The trees are not green.

Night has leaked them

Of colour

Like humanity has

Leaked them of life.

This blue wood

Is dead.

Dead, but beautiful as well.  I suppose things can be that way.

The Schoolgirl Philosopher

A smile is a rarity

On her plain face.

Her books clutched to her chest,

Like a small child.

Her diary is full of

Poetry.

Her pencilcase,

Scrunched pieces of paper –

The remnants of thought.

 

Do not invite her to celebrations

For she will sit in the corner

And take notes.

 

In the classroom,

She stays mute and

In the corridor,

While others play,

She learns.

 

And when, from this place of learning,

We graduate,

She will carry her thoughts

Like a backpack.

The more she trudges along

The dusty road of life,

The heavier it will become.

This is not based upon anyone I know.  Including myself.

The ANATHEMA

The ANATHEMA came to me one day in August.

It crept in through my window while I was sleeping,

Flat like a huntsman, crawling through the gap

Between the room and the outside darkness.

And then it crept into my brain,

Took up residence,

And acted accordingly

For the rest of the day.

 

And when I awoke, I felt it awake with me.

It steered my legs, my arms, my emotions.

It turned me from my food,

Took hold of my mouth and pounded it

Into a frown.

It tugged me away from my work,

Towards the life of a lazy student.

I told it not to,

That I was busy,

That my life lay before my eyes in Birdseye view,

But it would not listen.

 

It whispered messages in my ear,

Messages of hatred and cruel ANATHEMA

That led me to pause, to glance slowly around

With careful suspicion of everything.

 

It told me that the Birdseye view was a lie,

Planted by people who did not care for me.

I would never grow to love it.

INSTEAD, it said, in a tiny, insipid voice, TRY THIS.

IT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY

AND EVERY HUMAN WANTS TO BE HAPPY.

 

And how do you know?  I asked it, in a frightened murmur

Because you are not human.

And you are not me.

You do not know.

And I will not believe you

 

The ANATHEMA was angry,

But soon it disappeared

To seek a more hospitable host.

Second Semester of the Year

We have a fading interest in life,

As we sit in the chairs meant for

People years our junior.

Our impatient, blatant sighs fill the air of the room,

The click of fingers on a keyboard,

Bored fingers that cannot

Work any longer.

Our condescending stares pierce through our elders,

Pulling them apart,

Limb by limb.

These walls have captured us and we long to be free,

To conquer the world,

One step at a time.

Café Living

Most cafes aren’t like this, I swear.

No one feels the cold,

Only the breathable air of the A/C.

With pasted smiles

We work our way through customers.

Our shoes squeak on the linoleum

As we try to sneak unnoticed.

Our palms are cracked from detergent.

After working hour shifts,

Our cheeks sore from the

Plastic Smiles,

The scent of soap suds

Starts to stink.

18-8

Written on a bus again.

The bus stands stock still.

The smell of petrol permeates,

A musty smell.

And in the shallow rain,

Shining rivulets race each other across the

Fog obscured, cross-hatched windows.

Nobody moves or talks,

Lost in each other’s words.

The repetitive rumbling of the engine

Fills our ears and we are

Transfixed, hypnotised.

The dull lights flash as if

Heralding movement:

But we still stand stock still.

Wasn’t quite sure about using the word ‘shallow’ to describe rain, but I think it creates the right mental image, do you?

Sunrise and Sunset

This week’s poetry.  Written on a bus trip.

Sunrise

Morning is a secret time,

Of misty, clandestine hills

And haphazard,

Half-light.

It casts shadows in

The wake of day,

A promise to the earth.

In the time when

No man stirs

The earth is itself,

Peaceful and untouched.

The giants are slumbering.

The sky is pale as if

Recovering from the

Sickness of the night.

The bushland glows in

This ethereal light.

How we love to miss it.

 

Sunset

Voices have dimmed to a low hum,

Feet rest on seats,

Heads slumped on shoulders.

It has been a long day.

The trees fly past the window,

The sun waves an unseen salutation

Then dips, pastel hues, behind the horizon.

 

The page and pen are blurring into one.

No choice but to feel where words should go.

And the same desaturated blue of sunrise

Fills the sky this sunset.

Bush Poetry I

I

And I sat

As the musk light draped

Like tissue paper

Over the land.

Bird cries echoed, mingling with

The barks of a dog and

Slow, sodden footsteps.

The wind caressed the treeas as the

Sun sparked orange

Before bidding the world and those

Dark, heavy mountains

Goodnight.

II

And if I walk further

The enterprise of mankind

Spreads its dark, steely wings.

It scares the bush away,

Corners it, lures it into

Rusty-hinged traps.

And it is gone,

Eaten.

III

If we would learn to walk in silence,

Not to trudge with heavy shoe

And make paths to suit

Our own homo sapien needs,

Perhaps we would see for a moment,

The pause between breaths,

Perhaps,

What really lies under our shoes.

IV

To my left is nothing.

Calm.

But empty space.

And if I move my eyes,

Steadily it becomes

Less

And less so.

We cram so much into every tiny space,

Fill every moment, every centimetre

With an important

‘Something’.

We have clouded our own horizons.

The Abyss

So I told you that I’d be writing poetry about how stressed I am…

We are hanging by our fingernails

On the cliff overlooking

The ABYSS.

As we try to

Claw our way up,

To reach the safety of

The ledge,

We are pushed back down.

There is no respite.

But for our pains,

We are strong.

So that was depressing.