by Carleton Raisbeck (October 2018)
Milk, Michael Borremans, 2003
I call them The Academy Peripatetic
because on the dealings of men
they dwell day and night,
and are without
a place to call home.
On the steps of a church
they converge, devoted
to discourse and drink.
(but by morning possess
much less resolve
than Socrates in The Symposium.)
Recently, I saw them sprawled
topless, soaking the sun,
with the richness of Senators
in Roman bath houses.
Stood before them, a defendant; a rhetor,
stained with icons of gods on his skin,
defending a thesis and waving
a chalice of tin.
Deploying an anaphora, he spake:
“I ain’t never seen her.
And I ain’t never touched her.
And I ain’t never gonna see her again.”
But alas, his narratio
though emphatically put,
failed to convince;
a questionable ethos
or a flaw in his logic, perhaps.
And of course, as it does, this discourse became flesh:
a refutatio to the stomach and face
—a conclusion, at least, it may well be said,
with less finality than hemlock.
Carleton Raisbeck is a writer from Dorset.
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