INSURRECTION

NEWSCASTERS VERSUS TRUMP’S MONKEY BOYS

I saw one of Trump’s monkey boys sit at the Presiding Officer’s Desk
in the US Senate Chamber
Another Trump monkey boy hung from a wall by one arm just like a monkey
in the US Senate Chamber
A Trump monkey boy stood in front of the chair of the Speaker of the House
in the US House Chamber
Desecration
What does desecration mean—de-consecration—Desecration mean in this time
And this age—this age that holds nothing sacred?
Sacred

Indifference
Trump’s monkey boys riot and think it a good time, indifferent
in drunk anarchic party orgy
Dignity
In affront to the dignity all around them
in drunk anarchic party orgy
Contempt
Contemptuous of law, due process
in drunk anarchic party orgy
Respect
Knowing no respect for the symbol the Capitol Building is
in drunk anarchic party orgy
Disgrace
Disgracing the suggestion of a temple the Capitol Building is
in drunk anarchic party orgy
Honor
Honoring no one, nothing
in drunk anarchic party orgy

And the TV newscasters said that they were embarrassed
Look—you’re embarrassed when you’re caught with your zipper down—
Embarrassed?
They worried about what the rest of the world would think
“What kind of message does it send to the rest of the world?”  journalists ask.
As if to worry what others think ever matters
Treasonous rabble bursts the oldest living democratic republic
The coup led by a president who craves power as coups will
Marvin Gaye asked long ago the persistent question, “What’s going on?”
Liberty in New York Harbor; her torch beats in every American’s heart
Anarchy’s fangs salivate at the edges of liberty, slinking for a chance

SECOND IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: PROSECUTION CASE

Were it but anarchy
Were it but drunk anarchic party orgy
Assassination attempt
Intent
Murder
But for—
Escape
Sequester in secret
Protection
Were they but monkey boys
They were assassins
But for—
Failed assassins
Their would-be targets escaped
—Escaped—
Senators, Congressmen, Congresswomen
Targets
Insurrection attempt
Treason
They did murder
Death

Steal the election
Discount the votes
Congress convened to count
The voices, our voices
My voice, your voice
Violate me, violate you
Intent
Steal the election

Intent
Incitement
Direction
Lies
Credulous
Incredulous
Guilt

DEFENSE CASE

The lead defense attorney opened the defense
By calling himself the prosecution

NOVEMBER 2, 2020

The love poem I want to write tonight is superseded

Everything is superseded by a microdot on a piece of paper

A microdot in a timeline of chaos, flashpoint in history

In one single day, the anxiety will culminate in a vote

Four years of conflicted administration, conflicted nation

That broke out in outright civil war, bloody war

Wounds that haven’t healed in one hundred sixty years,

An outbreak breaking out in protests, riots, civil speech exhausted

Wealth disparity, despair, disinformation, lies

Pandemic denied in a pantomime economy

Destined for collapse through dying workers, denied workers

Dying jobs markets, dying for relief from a dead congress

All summed up in a microdot on a piece of paper

Destined for the ballot box—summation but not salvation

For the sins of our forefathers, writ into racial blood,

Radical divide, denied equal opportunity

EQUALITY

Fragmenting a national illusion persisting in a culture of cruelty

For outsiders, inside the inner-city blight in a nation

Of freedom for insiders, a segregation of insiders, by insiders, for insiders

White trashed lives whose sway they aim to own, even my own life

Had I not left town they would have kept me down, destined to be an outsider

Like my music partner from New Orleans who never did break in

I can’t leave all this undone, unsung—this division, this decision

In a pantomime economy, in a pandemic, in a microdot on a piece of paper

Just a microdot in a timeline of chaos

Epistemology and What Words Are

Words are created by people;

They help us function.

Words have meaning only when

Our experience meshes with the origin

Of any given word.

Then there is the consideration

Of experience.

To Locke, experience is

Inner and outer.

The motions of our soul are inner.

The world we all share is outer.

Words created to mediate what is inner

Confront what is outer.

When they coincide,

We call it truth.

A preponderance of words from what is inner

That don’t coincide with words from what is outer

Is what we call a lie.

Linguistic processes affirm the art of epistemology.

And there is what we call truth.

For those who care.

Trump Tests Contemporary Philosophy

At a supper party I spoke with a young woman who was getting a degree in philosophy.  I took the opportunity to lament the state of contemporary philosophy.  I told her, “There’s no more truth!”  She responded, “If there ever was.”

There were a coterie of philosophers in recent years who maintained that there is no such thing as truth.  Some of the notable philosophers were Nietzsche, Derrida, Fish, and Rorty.  Their assertion is that there is no outside reality that language copies and reproduces with words.  Rorty wouldn’t even make an assertion like that.  Because if he had said that there is no reality that language copies, that would have been an assertion of which the predicates of true or false could be attached.  Being consistent to his own system, Rorty said that he would use language in such a way that we would be attracted to speak like him.  He wasn’t making a statement about truth.  He was persuading us to speak like him, think like him.  Rorty wouldn’t even accept the endowed chair in the philosophy department at the University of Virginia which was offered him.  He thought that philosophy was no longer a viable discipline.  So U VA created a chair in a brand new department called something like cultural studies.

What does all this have to do with Donald Trump?  A lot of us are getting sick of all the lies he is telling.  As of August 1, the fact checker at the Washington Post found 4,229 lies told by Trump.  This averages 7.6/day.  If Trump had the brains, which he doesn’t, he could claim that contemporary philosophy has eliminated the concept of truth.  Since there is no truth, he would not be making statements contrary to it.  In short, Trump is the most prominent spokesperson for contemporary philosophy.

I was always suspicious of Rorty, Derrida, and Fish when I was a student.  Their claims didn’t convince me.  Now we have a test case for contemporary.  Is Trump lying?  Or can’t he lie?  Is there such a thing called truth which Trumps 4,229 statements are contrary to?  Or are the tactics of Trump and Giuliani, which seek to poison the notion that there is truth at all, entirely legitimate and in keeping with philosophy today?

I think the public outrage against Trump’s lies is an indication that most of us believe in truth, and bristle against lies.  When it comes down to it, I think that the pretensions of contemporary philosophy is another case of the emperor’s new clothes.  We see through it, even as we do Trump’s lies.