Philosophy 101
By John McKernan

It is time class to learn Assyrian  Esperanto  Swahili
                  Latin and the other languages of the future

Stalin needs our support against Hitler

Some critical reviews of these noxious Orwell books
                  will help enormously

A scholarship to Chariot School or an apprenticeship
                  in a whip braiding program

Great buys today on telegraphs  thalidomide        Super
                  sales on covered wagons

Show me that Northwest Passage and then try to coax
                  that chimp down from the tree

This war will end all future wars

We want cars with even greater speed

Behold   Table cloths of gossamer   Kitchen tables
                  of petrified wood

The bullets for Che Guevara’s carbine     The whetstone for
                  his Bowie Knife

Who says human sacrifice did not improve crop yields?

Stiff taxes on braids & beards & pony tails

Consequential surtaxes on every melody or song
                  Even humming

Why is the pilot drinking vodka?

Why believe a weather report prepared by a fawning

Plant the zinnia seeds at the exact center of each ice

The azaleas will grow on a chrome muffler

Always spend more money than you have  Always

Leave large tips for inconsequential politeness and
                  needless services

It is important to kill all the gods     All of them
                  Mortuaries everywhere

That includes spider gods     Gopher divinities
                  Transcendent clouds

Nature loves us     We are one with Nature     Friends

Again     No sun screen ever     No sunglasses except
                  for naps in the shade

General Custer     Allow me to introduce you to Robert

He will be your diving coach and will show you how
                  to operate the Edsel

Don’t you want someone following you around wherever
                  you go?

Think of your mom and how good you felt wearing a
                  life preserver

Here let me give you some more air

There is your portion of sunlight     Don’t use it all up in
                  the morning

What do you mean?     Speed limit

What does that word even mean?     Limit

Where do you think the rules go when your father
                  leaves the room?

Never to understand arctic flowers

Never to truly understand drinking water from
                  glacier ice

Why won’t that movie theater accept my rubles?

I want two tickets to this movie about Freedom    One
                  for each eye

You really need another plate of guilt     A large helping

Think about the behavior of your great great great
                  great grandfather

Throw in several wayward uncles and cousins also

I will trade you two sexual guides for eleven historical

Approximate the truth     That’s what poems are for

Why can’t we all get back to hating each other like we
                  used to?

Why do you want my car    My computer     My pay
                  check My thoughts

Why not?    What are you afraid of?    The journey?
                  The new foods?     Lack of friends & sleep?

You began in diapers        You will end in diapers

The cooing will be replaced by heavy breathing

Bring back all the childhood games    Put them in a
                  large pile    Set them on fire

Ashes from scarred scribbled letters will read your
                  future better than tea leaves

John McKernan grew up in the middle of Omaha, Nebraska, in the middle of he USA. He is now a retired comma herder after teaching 41 years at Marshall University He lives — mostly — in West Virginia, where he edits ABZ Press His most recent book is a selected poems collection, Resurrection of the Dust. He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Journal, Antioch Review, Guernica, Solstice and many other magazines.