a Dutch philosopher

 

Americans don’t want to ask or know what
the hell they’re reading or spectating
or why things are as they are
they have anti-depressant drugs for that
a tender mercy

you couldn’t account for it any other way
I’m telling you
the impossible unmentionable stupidities
the hard glazed grin

a hard problem and in the universities
they talk about art
the same old story

Nietzsche preferred the Opéra-Comique
to German prose and they blame him for it
The Twentieth Century

the Magi at the infant Christ
weigh Herod’s position
during this interregnum

for if all art should come to this
a fashioning out of fashion then
the abstruse questions face us plain
in Philosophy Departments everywhere

and if the poles of history whirligig
a fainted memory if only this memory
were instead of any other history then
why should we do this writing of Philosophy?

we do not in this veritable Cokeyne
but sift these books and profitless conspire
at marshals of being and fodder of vultures
to justify whatsoever plain we fill
with our tired recollectional Ethics and Good

to perspire in this expectation were less than vain
the artist says if you say art is dead
conceptual philosophizing what have you written?
and we go back to Kant or whosoever to admire
the structure of thought as a decorative emblem
of our thought let’s look at it this way
a steel-structured building faced with granite
cut to look like paper hasn’t much of mind
still less of life so can’t be called a concept

we don’t know what either are so no deciding
we have books decide that for us once was this
then that the ébonistes of Louis Quatorze
turned to lighter woods and so did Monet

Odes are there for who desire them
and written still by the hand that cares to
but on the shelf or in the street we miss them

but we do serve to justify the rank metonymy
which says our praise or blame’s the thing itself
our lack of worthwhile selves reflection and our wit
a nominative framing of the Academy for blind tourists

put to these questions from pillar to post we fly
to incunabula of first reasons and the other lesser cause
which knows defeat and calls it acclimation of the will
and clamor of asses and palm fronds in the square
we fly from upwards to non sequiturs and reason

for there is a need and then a means a locus
and variety of winds there is a quality of love
refers to necessity and the big old whoring globe
magnatical receives or does not there is philosophy
in a nutshell I see Buddha floating in oh yes
why not or Moses or the pale distract Ophelia

flack and correspondent glean the straw of CEO bricks
Babylon etc. you see the line of gracious reasoning
there are others we have been there done that offshored the T-shirt
private myths public woes and weals yes weals and then
a patient excursive commentary and commercial expatiation
see we’ve Nietzsche round again who couldn’t stand the stuff
and here we are in The New Millennium promoted as barbed wire
like Schoenberg’s music unto them as have no ear
the century is gone like a journalist’s decade
abstracted shelved and named to suit the purpose

Rimbaud the most precise of all the poets had a pen
and centrified the whirl of collocations in his view
as patiently as could be wished and has professors
to argue him down not for his life nor yet his art
for what know they of either save by misdirection and lust
but for the mere precision of his pen as this must be
in plannings dials mercurochromes and yet is other
than the plan in mind so inspiration if you call it that occurs
at length unto the mind of men of mind and fills
the vacant spaces like a bronze or something else
philosophy is this link of mind to life this yoke
we barter for ourselves if not for tenure