Everything I Know About Philosophy I Learned from KRS-ONE
When you told me you spent your nights
watching the stars, I really believed in you. I mean,
I don’t like doing pushups beside a tinkling
mountain creek either but I also don’t
want to be remembered as the guy who freaked out
and made a scene when camp counselors had us
strip to our tighty trunks and jump into a tinkling
mountain creek as a sort of “initiation,”
or, “indoctrination into a secret society
of changelings,” if you will. Paranormal
phenomena are all around us. Kerosine always
reminds me of cold, miserable mornings
in the wilderness and especially the morning at scout
camp when Dave was almost struck by lightning.
It struck a nearby pail. I like camp
as much as anybody but I don’t want to be
remembered as the guy who freaked out and made
a scene while repelling down a waterfall
during a physical endurance challenge. Like,
I learned how to shoot a gun at camp. Later,
I learned how to kill and eat a squirrel. I don’t think
any of us knew at the time, however, that
a squirrel is a rodent. But whatever, people eat
capybaras. They do eat capybaras, don’t they?
Do people eat capybaras? I think
when people think of “the world’s largest
rodent” they think “big rat,” but I’d imagine
the meat of a capybara tastes better than
rat meat and I think I’d eat a capybara
if somebody in South America placed a plump,
juicy, slow-roasted capybara in front of me.
A feast of the ages! Or is it a feast for all ages?
Carnivores, vegetarians, super-vegans—
we’re all people and who’s with me? I mean, I dislike
tender confessions and apologies around campfires
near tinkling mountain creeks as much as anybody,
but who wants to be remembered as the guy
at the party who tells Quan Barry
he’d much rather eat a capybara than a spider?
Who’s with me? Sure, a lot of ambiguities
could be cleared up right now by looking this up,
but have you considered I might not want to know
if I could one day eat a capybara, preferably curried?
Do they have capybaras in Guyana? What kind
of relationship do capybaras have with house pets?
Is it harmonious or will they kill your cat
is I guess what I’m getting at. I hope
it’s harmonious because we’re all just people
and capybaras here, aren’t we? Still,
I learned the hard way that a guy should
always be sure he’s zipped his fly
before stepping away from the urinal. When
you told me you spent your nights watching
the stars, I really believed in you. When I spend
my nights watching the stars, I usually
consider two things. The first is my childhood.
I wish I could remember if I actually had
an interest in astronomy or if going out late
at night with my dad and his telescopes was more
about going out late at night with my dad
and his telescopes. Either way, I probably know
more about astronomy than the average asshole.
The second is what people in other solar
systems look like, how they behave. Do they
fall in love like I do? Do they have genitals
and procreate like us, or is procreation
so violent and completely bizarre
that I can’t even think of a worthy human
comparison? Do they have capybaras and curried
capybaras to eat? When will they finally find,
conquer, and enslave us? What do they think when
they lie in their backyards at night, like me,
and look at the sky? Do they wonder if I fall
in love like they do? Do they wonder
if my genitals are like theirs, full of knives
and pouches to take and hold birthing juice?
Do they wonder if I have capybaras and curried
capybaras to eat? Do they, as they age, consider
their relationships with their own fathers, how they’d
stay up all night looking through their fathers’
telescopes just so they could spend time
with them, too?
Author Discusses Poems