Poem “Philosophical Attitude” by Theresa Haffner

philosophical attitude

In your eyes
you are yet
forgetful of
your true estate.

Have you forgotten your
heart is not quiet?

the purpose of philosophy is
to quiet the emotions
but how can you be happy
when you know you are alone?
that your plate is not full?

My heart is tied up
up in my many knots.
They keep my strings taut
and ungiving...

yes. so there is the
zen of nothing
the algebra of need
one to me is
fame and shame

study kabala.
the ancient hebrew texts.

they get you close.

they say
the universe
was created
from pure thought
by means of
letters and numbers

only the devil could do that.

the sages say it's as easy
as one...two...three...
and A...B...C...

numbers and letters.

but which ones?
they never reveal
them along the way.

kabala gives number one
through number nine

and twenty two letters
in the hebrew alphabet

you could make anything
in the world
if you could
spell it right

i was a student of
kabala and it was

you must first acquire
the knowledge

kabala is so abstract.

you cannot deny the truth...

because you can make
the universe

it's so subtle

it could make you laugh
and at the same time
feel guilty

but even god had to
start somewhere

if it wasn't A-B-C
it was Aleph-Beth-Gimel

and this calls for
a lot of knowledge

a lot of facts

the zen of numerology
is the belief that

only by living
without desire
can you
avoid suffering.

that you are nothing
That you don't exist

how can your
heart be empty?

a root of


and the word
a thought

your heart is empty
you become a zealot

a scholar

a man who takes his
knowledge seriously

because you have

you could not feel nothing
kick something
be anything

these things i have given you

these things i love

to prove that one does not equal

study astrology
surround yourself with

signs and symbols
the stars and planets

a weather report of the
known universe

a deck of cards
with an ace for a face

and a deuce for the other end


later on astronomy

a cast of elephants
and tortoises
of what ever hindu world
is appropriate

the theory of cosmic reality

(that we cite as the only
true religion)
states clearly that
in existence all t’s must be crossed
and all i’s dotted

that in the cosmic all-there-is

the at-one-ment we think of as

all details must be taken into consideration
no matter how insignificant
or beside the point they may seem

that this moment can not be real
unless everything is just the way it is.

and that this ultimate reality
can be changed by changing a single detail.

because everything is just as important
as every other thing

and in this way you maintain
an edge on
ultimate reality

i ching is an ancient chinese system
of divination using yin and yang
to study the rise and fall
of light and dark forces
in the universe

in the coin oracle this is
determined by tossing three coins
and recording the pattern of heads and tails

how important is reality if it can
be determined by something
as insignificant as the toss of a coin?

at first I couldn’t consult
the oracle because i had
no coins and they don’t
accept master charge

then later i got some money

when you are experienced with
i ching you know that it is a book
and it has spirits which can talk
to you as if they were human beings

imagine my astonishment
when the coins revealed this hexagram:

No 1 The Creaive
- - -
- - -
- - -
- - -
- - -
- - -
the first hexagram in the series of
64 hexagrams that comprises the
book of changes

i interpreted this as the spirits
telling me i needed to start at
the beginning

i am alone
but my heart is empty

so that i will not suffer
i conceive of myself
as nothing

because zero does not equal one

at a later time someone will come

my heart will not be empty
and philosophy will rise

i realize
if nothing is real
at least i can become
no thing

after i have obliterated suffering
my senses become not
i can assuage this by drinking

a philosophical attitude is cultivated
when one takes a stance against the
merely ordinary

he seeks to understand reality
in terms of its underlying principles

he does not battle with reality
but accepts it with serene resignation

he is not like a leaf to be blown aside
by any breeze or like a tree to be
uprooted by a storm

he knows that time is absolute
and nothing can stand against it

before a person can interpret the
signs and symbols of existence
to predict the future

he must spend many years in devotion
to the me and the not me of
cosmic wisdom

before he can snap his fingers
and change future events
he must have attained the very
exalted philosophical state

otherwise known as
peace of mind

Theresa Haffner:
Now in her seventh decade, Theresa Haffner was raised in Michigan but moved to California at age twenty one, first to San Francisco, then to Los Angeles to pursue a career in professional music. She is transgender, male to female, having made the transition in 1972. She began writing while still a teenager. She has been a force in L.A. poetry since the early 1980's when she gave a reading of her concrete poetry at the Water Gallery in Hollywood. Also known as an editor/publisher, she edited THREADBARE LITERARY JOURNAL, In collaboration with Albert Crane. AFTERSHOCK MAGAZINE with David Behrens (Bill Bored), and was regional editor for THE NEW PRESS,  a literary journal published in Flushing, New York and distributed nationally. 

To her credit, she has one novel, MACARTHUR PARK CHRONICLES*, (denotes available through Literary Download Center) several books of poetry including ACHERON AND OTHER POEMS*, DIFFERENT DRUM*, THE LAST POETRY BOOK*, THE CASE FOR WISDOM AT 5:00 A.M.*, SURFACE OF THE LAND,  a novella BLACK STAR* a coffee table book, ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM (THE NEW YORK SCHOOL) (In preparation), and various other paper booklets and pamphlets.

As part of her effort to stimulate interest in original literature at the community level, she periodically makes available POETRY SAMPLERS selected from her copious archives of unpublished poetry. Several are available.

Her poetry is archived at www.poemhunter.com

For many years she worked as a professional musician, playing with an impressive array of famous and infamous people. Her music can be heard on Youtube at the Theresa Haffner Channel.

(*Literary Download Center c/o theresahaffner05@gmail.com)

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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