On Opposing Philosophies

September 26, 2008
By Alyssa Zhang, San Jose, CA

Our actions, merely speculation:/
We can’t eschew these moral avenues/
We’re walking through a passé/
Impasse. The chair I can’t/

Rise from is unbearably dirty, and the table/
I can’t define. Both have surveyed thousands/
Of ancient sins, and are worse for the bearing. The fuzzy sweat-and-graphite glisten /
That coats the table’s varnish is finer/
Than my sudden revelation—and just as grimy./
I’ve seen too many movements in too many/
Movies. /

And my philosophies/
Stand ready. The varnish tells me/
I am ready./

The chair is calling for the impeachment/
Of my load of indecisions; the buttresses of absolutes/
Have been burned down. These thoughts are getting boring/
And the collapsible frame breaks down. The teacher turns one eye/
Precisely fifty-five degrees/
And asks me to leave./

The teacher cries that we’re smarter than we think/
We are as he swings a chair around his head and threads himself/
Through it stoically as the class laughs. And now he’s rejecting/
The idiocy of atrocities. And explaining how the man in the video rejected/
Rational thought. I close the door/

And go home. I ask myself, what is a chair,/
I ask my chair, what is a chair,/
My table tells me not to worry./

The author's comments:
I wrote this poem while sitting at a very dirty desk and wondering what stains, both tangible and metaphorical, might have blemished it.

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