Coffee With Martin And Peter - Poem by Keith Johnson
INTIMACY IS SUICIDE FOR PHILOSOPHY
I spent another challenging cup of coffee
At the Maranui, this morning, with Peter.
I had consulted Wikipedia on Heidegger
But after a couple of turns, I still got lost.
Someone should develop a philosophical
SatNav that can overlay all particular entities
And allow them to show up as entities in the first place.
Hopefully it would have Satellite, Earth and Map Views.
Words like metaphysics, hermeneutics and ontology
Make me apprehensive
Much the same way that Gay references
Make me uneasy or apprehensive,
Or the threat of exams drove me to revise:
The apprehension of possible humiliation.
As I explained, I come from farming stock
And have a life-long atavistic concern about
Being killed with a tyre lever or a Stillson spanner
For using big words or being a brain box
Or pondering too long on the nature of being
Or kissing a bloke behind the bike shed or the silage pit.
I was interested though to learn that Heidi
Liked poetry and that he thought that
Stefan George was pretty cool
And unintelligibly intelligible:
‘So I renounced and gladly see:
Where word breaks off no thing may be'.
And even more impressed that Heidi
Liked Gottfried Benn:
‘publicly labelled a swine by the Nazis,
an imbecile by the Communists,
an intellectual prostitute by the democrats,
a renegade by the emigrants,
and a pathological nihilist by the religious.'
But disappointed that he only sent Paul Celan
A thank-you note for his commemoration
Of their forest walk at Todtnauberg.
Paul asked in the form of a poem:
‘Who wrote in the Visitors Book
The line about a hope today
For a thinker's word to register in the heart?
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