Matching Grant Challenge
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 Day 19

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The Cartesian Slaughterhouse

Ren?, Can We Begin a Dream Collaboration Project?

by PHIL ROCKSTROH

Descartes, I’ve heard tale: On the night before you published your treatise, Rules For The Direction Of The Mind, you dreamed: Walking a city street, you found yourself leaning so far to the right, that, as you proceeded along the sidewalk, your head and body were positioned almost parallel to the ground?er?excuse me, but can we talk about this, Ren??

Shortly thereafter, you insisted that: Dreams were as dead as dust — and proclaimed animals are machines, neither worthy of names nor worth consideration, other than for commodification.

Instead, can we collaborate on a dream in which we create an epitaph in lasting air so that we might chronicle the world before us?its ceaseless proliferation and its ceaseless culling — its ever-present laugh of triumph and elegy without end?

Amid this: Ren?, we are, like you, so baffled by who we are in relationship to the world, it is difficult to meet life head on?verities buffeted, we are blown, this way, then that?upended, directionless in a landscape of veritable regret and fleeting revelry?regardless, we trudge on.

Did wielding the cutlery of glinting certitude banish trepidation, as you cut down opaque existence and evanescent identity to manageable bits?

Yet ensnared in the algorithms of the machine mind, days are denuded?night is banished.

Dualist mind, enchanted by your mastery of things you deems dead, you have bred seething clouds of black flies infesting Cartesian slaughterhouse holding pens and bequeathed to us dying oceans.

Because you averred that the only way to know ourselves is to mince the living and the dead into tiny bits, I was trained to rip myself asunder and serve my lifeless heart to my betters.

You — frenzied maenads turned wine-to-blood, reductionist clinicians — that is my head in your hands — worse, that is the dream body of the world you have torn to tatters.

Yet the ashes of your charnel house aspirations hang in air like musical notes?and, like all night music, will dissolve into earth at dawn.

Thus you and I must keep reminding ourselves to weep for the things of this world that suffer; otherwise, we mistake the earth’s impersonal dreaming for our own.

Adjust your body back to the left, Ren?, face forward, meet the world’s gaze at eye level, and more might be revealed.

Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at: phil@philrockstroh.com. Visit Phil’s website http://philrockstroh.com