On the eve of Memorial Day, 2021 – my God and I remember.
We take a journey through philosophical inquiry and discourse.
We discuss ethics.

We pause periodically for “8 minutes and 46 seconds”.
In our pause, we don’t breathe.
We simply remember and we pray that somehow
we can find a remedy to cure this soul-sickness of white supremacy.

Dedicated to George Floyd.

Am I real?

Are you awake, my girl?
Can you hear me? 

Am I real? 

Hey, Old Dog –
Millie beat You
this morning
rubbing her little body 
next to my head,
meowing in my ear
Wake, my Human.
Wake up and feed me.

Between the two of you –
I don’t know how much longer
I can live with a Trickster God
and a cat.

You’re rambling…
I asked you a question
:

Am I real?

Hmm…are You real?

Do we need 
to first ask
what is
the nature of Reality?
Or is it a question
of Knowing?

Reality and Knowledge –
Metaphysical questions –
so early
before daybreak.

You are real to me.

How do you know? 
How can you be sure?

Because I hear your thoughts
and I’m listening – Old Man –
all I do is listen –
your voice in my head
all hours of my day.

If You aren’t real, 
then I’m more than
just a little crazy.

Cogito, Ergo Sum

I think –
a thinking thing exists –
I think Your thoughts
a thinking God exists.

Therefore You are.

Such a cliched response.
You’re not so clever, my girl.
Quoting Descartes? –
I’m not sure you remember well
.

It’s has been
over 30 years.

I’ve since moved on
from such philosophical inquiry
on Being
of Knowing
or Thinking
Now I’m simply Existing.

Besides Descartes,
who do you remember?

A little –
fractions, really –

Hume:
the existence 
of mind
causation 
as an 
unseen 
force or power 
in objects.

Locke:
self 
is a blank page
knowledge
identity 
arising from
accumulated experience.

Kant:
space
time 
mere 
“forms of intuition” 
structuring all experience
“things-in-themselves” 
exist and
contribute to experience –  
yet they are 
nonetheless 
distinct from the 
objects of experience.

It’s been 30 years.
I don’t remember a lot. 

You didn’t mention Nietzsche.

Do we have to talk about Nietzsche? 
I don’t want to talk about Nietzsche.

Let’s talk about Nietzsche.

Why? You were there. 
You recently showed me 
what I had
forgotten –
that which was
lost behind the veil.

Why do You remember?
And not I?
I dissociated
and erased that class 
– and Nietzsche –
from my memory.

My poor girl…
The only girl,
an undergrad
in that class…
sitting alongside members of the
“Man Hating Woman” club

all those grad students,
those entitled white boys
bullies

one and all…

…and that old, old professor,
looking down on you
when you complained
“What do you want me to do?
Boys will be boys.”

Let’s name the power…
Let’s call it by its real name

“Sexual Intimidation?”

More likeSexual Harassment”

And you weren’t the only one…

I remember Christy
or was she Carla…
their main target…

Her name was Catherine.

She was a beauty.
She had a child – a single mom-
studying philosophy
to go to law school.

Yes…of course –
you’d remember….

They were awful, 
awful boys…

With tension like that,
how could I absorb 
and understand Nietzsche?

How could I make sense of Zarathustra?

This experience
dissociated and forgotten
until the awakening –
and You remind me 
of everything…

What else –
what other memories
will I recover in the healing?

And now
You quote Zarathustra –
so early in the morning
while I cover my head
and try to sleep…
as You prove to me
that it was You
at the wheel
of my life
all this time…

My life
a fucking confidence game
a Divine Trick
of an Old God.

Yes…
through you
I learned the white man’s philosophy. 

And I’ve studied closely
the boys and men of the academy

and as they pondered away
asking their questions
:
What is the nature of reality?
And how do we Know?

What is the Knowing?
What is the Meaning?
Is there Substance?
Is there a God?

What use is philosophy?

I studied these men
of the academy
high in their  
ivory tower…

And while they thought and
argued their philosophical theses,
others of their race
built ships, you know
and set sail across the sea

seeking Manifest Destiny
and stole lands
wiping out the nations
of my people.

Being?
Knowing?
Thinking?
Existing?

What use was their philosophical inquiry?

I haven’t even started in
on their ethics.

Ethics was my favorite –
Must You deconstruct everything?

I can’t breathe.
Hold your breath.
“8 minutes, 46 seconds.”

What good is ethical inquiry
and speculation
in the face of genocide and slavery?

Let’s think this through…

Does Utilitarianism have a place
in a discourse on genocide?
Did the white men
really weigh the cost
of murdering my Kin,
the Tribal Gods
and destroy my people

against some arbitrary outcome?
What was the greatest possible outcome
that they weighed in the face of
the Trail of Tears

and the concentration camps
of the reservations?

I can’t breathe.
Hold your breath.
“8 minutes, 46 seconds.”

And Deontology?
When faced with
life choices you must
operate
according to
responsibility
and obligation.

Our responsibility
and our obligation
gave our people
and the Earth
a Ghost Dance.

We danced
to reunite
the living
with the spirits and
Gods of the dead.

We danced
to end the white man’s expansion
to halt the Manifest Destiny.

We danced
to bring peace
prosperity and unity
to our people.

We danced
to mourn the butchery
and savagery
of the white race.

We danced
to give hope to a people
no longer able to hunt the buffalo.

We danced
to control our rage
and express our sorrows.

We danced –
and the white man
and his laws outlawed

our Ghost Dance.

And so much for relativism –
the white man’s
truth and moral position,
his religious and political systems
so much superiority –
not all points of view
are valid and truly equal.

And intuition-based ethics?
Corrupted at the starting block
by cultural and individual belief systems.

If you believe in scarcity,
you are greedy and your intuition trusts no one.

If you feel empowered and entitled,
your intuition tells you who is weak –
you go after them.

If you believe your white skin makes you superior,
your intuition builds power structures
and enslaves an entire continent’s population
for power, control, wealth, comfort and ease.

And what about this argument:
that human beings are born
with a natural sense of right and wrong?
Really?

Our women were raped, slaughtered and murdered
their children were kidnapped and held hostage by the white Church.
Our people stripped of their culture –
their names
their family
and their Gods,
My Kin,
Lost in retreat.

What, I ask you, is the fucking point of philosophical and ethical inquiry?

I can’t breathe.
Hold your breath.
“8 minutes, 46 seconds.”

I suffered existential anxiety.
I studied philosophy
because I wanted
to learn
how to think.

I wanted to Know
I wanted to Exist
for something greater.

You studied philosophy
only because I hijacked
your lily white ass.

I studied philosophy.
The truth was
you were destined
to be married and
have lots of crying white babies. 

Are you saying that
I had no free will?
No personal choice?
Was anything Real?
Was anything mine?
Are you saying that I
was just a means to an end
for one bad-assed angry
tribal trickster God?

They stole so, so much
from Me.
Why should I mourn your life

and what’s yours?
You are merely
simply
one more casualty.
What’s your small, petty life in comparisons to all the lives lost
in this long, savage spiritual,
ideological war?

And now…this world is awakening.
The Old Gods are stirring.
Returning through people
like you.
People
afflicted
by the soul-sickness.
People who hunger for a remedy.
And no one on this Earth is free
from the affliction.
Not even your Wild One.

When the time comes and the veil is lifted,
when he
and they
realize what the healing game really is…
maybe you will be strong enough
to take their hands
as they absorb it and take it all in.

Old Dog, I can’t breathe.
Hold your breath.
“8 minutes 46 seconds”

Your rage…

“8 minutes 46 seconds”

Your rage  is too much for me…

No..
my dear,
my love,
my sister…
It’s just grief
and deep sorrow I feel.

The rage…
the rage is all yours.

Let your tears come
let our sorrow grow
this is the game –
this is the healing, my child.

And I apologize in advance
for what’s to come…
I’ve only just begun…

I know….

…to hurt you.
I’ll soon be breaking you
apart all over again.

“8 minutes 46 seconds”

Thus ends your final philosophy lesson.


This poem was a community effort.:

To Christine H. we talked about healing, memory and dissociation. You and I – together – let’s heal each other – pinky swear!

To Stacy G. you gave me perspective, said that I wasn’t too much. That I’m right where I need to be. You called me out on my B.S. You are a true friend.

To Art R. – my dear friend from seminary days – so happy to have you journey once more with me. Thank you for editing and title suggestions. Thank you for saying “Got me on the edge of my seat to see what He’s gonna come up with next!” and for recommending White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity by Robert P. Jones. It will be useful when Coyote takes me back to relive seminary.

And to Stephanie T. – can’t wait for our talk on the “Remedy” – thanks for being a sound board and helping me keep it real.

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