A Definition
--- For Neil Postman

I hope that you will regard Heaven as just another
Bad argument, and carefully avoid Saint Peter

And his crafty, semiotic archangels. Make your way
To the back of Heaven's gates, the servant's entrance

Near the fiery chariot's metaphorical garage. Ask
That disdainful angel smoking a cigarette (the one

That looks like Beckett but isn't) to define Heaven
--- no metaphysical diction allowed --- and supply

Textual authority. As he ponders, takes a drag,
And scratches his left wing, resist the irony

Of asking after Wittgenstein's health and tell the angel
You would appreciate an audience with Death

Because it's always been your favorite abstraction.
Wait until he is bemused, his brow furrowed

Into cuneiform-like folds of luminous skin, then begin
Your descent. Head straight for NYU and nod livingly

To your secretary. Tell her that classes will resume
Tomorrow and that only the baffled need attend;

Those students who confuse fact with truth can,
Frankly, go to Hell. And for Heaven's sake, don't

Answer the phone or the door. Tell her: "I'll be
In my office, with the door locked, noticing things."

--- From Arguments for Stillness
Erik Campbell
©2006 Curbstone Press
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