Keith Letky | My Philosophagus

So, to bore you no further, there is no source of laughing-matters from which austere and serious thoughts are not also to be derived.  –Cicero


A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.                –Wittgenstein



My mind’s a wintry attic fly.

It hibernates inside my brain.

It bumps and sulks about my skull,

Deceived and teased by window pain.

It works its way down to my gut.

With any luck, it won’t survive.


My stomach trusts the cluster fly.

His pet, he calls it Cousin Id.

Upset it makes my tummy ache.

I’ve tried so many laxatives.

My ego begs, “Give us a break!

If you love something, let it die!”


It wakes me up at night, this fly.

I feel its burning buzz below.

On fire, my poor esophagus.

In pain, I open my window.

Too bloated-bored, it can’t resist.

I belch a burp into the sky:



Plato’s commercial like SoHo.

He makes me a Mister Softee.

I’m a sophist with Play-Doh,

Advocating Mephistopheles.

You’re so played-out, Plato.

Go home to your Socrates.


For a truly secular man,

Nothing is tragic. Death is all around

A minor inconvenience. Life’s a ball.

Death wears the Masque of Dionysus.

But I do more than smile back, Marcus.

I laugh my fuckin’ ass off.


You got a purty mouth, Pope Urban II.

For your Crusades, you’ll squeal like a pig.

The Devil from Deliverance beckons.

And burning in Hell is the Grand Inquisitor.

Unlucky for him, but lucky for Hell,

I hid all of the fire extinguishers.


To be a Bambi killer or not to be,

What’s your suggestion?

I’d rather not car-hug a tree.

Steer me closer, headlight dancer.

Count the dead deer on the highway.

It’s all about the venison, baby.


Have you ever danced

In broad daylight with the Devil?

I’ve had more brushes with Death

Than Caravaggio’s canvas and easel.

I’m the backdoor man of Heaven,

Says fucked-up lovely 27.


I’ve got the whole world in my hands.

The moon is in my underpants.

That is all that is the case.

I shared my insights with Milton.

My words went down like moonshine.

I emptied my mind like cans of mace.


Beauty is truth, truth beauty?

No, no, no. The truth is scary.

The truth is, I smash urns like pumpkins.

Love is best? Bitch, please.

Leave love among the ruins.

I’ll eat your heart right off your sleeve.


Nietzsche. Dog is dead.

Went to get beer. And a shovel.

Be back soon. The end.

Dear Life, I’m Wilde and crazy.

You’re far too important

For me to take you seriously.


Freud, what does this mean?

I had a dream that all my teeth

Were fat girls peeling off my gums

Like skinny jeans. If losing teeth

Is the most common male dream,

How many men have had that one?


Stranger than Camus’ Meursault,

I laugh at wakes and funerals.

Life is absurd. Duh, so what.

What would Jesus do? Sorry,

But I can only turn the other cheek

Twice until I push out a turd.


I’ve got a jaw like Jake LaMotta,

A lot (too much) to say, no self-restraint.

I’m not a nihilist, I just say fuck it a lot.

But I am a kind of confidence man,

Conned by my own self-confidence.

My autobiography super-solipsizes me.


What Vonnegut called classy and honorable,

Cigarettes are surely a strange prophylactic.

I’d rather not regress, become Dependable;

And bear a thousand-yard stare at vinyl floors:

A mere three feet from a rickety wheelchair.

I am eliminating those later diaper years.


I tread untrodden sylvan path.

I’m the apple that ruined the batch.

To the high school dance, I asked Sylvia Plath:

Your life’s a gas. Let’s try to set the night on fire.

Need a light? Well, I’m your match.

Girl, we couldn’t get much higher.


I work for the State of New York:

The Bureaucracy According to Yarp.

Long I spend my days, hard at work,

Masking contempt for assholes in charge:

All members of the good-ole-boy network.

Kiss some ass, be a rat, and you’ll go far.


I’m not the voice of my generation,

But neither are you, Kanye West.

I’m just a voice on a closed-circuit radio station.

Madame Psychosis is my co-host:

Our jests are infinite; a failed entertainment.

I’m not the world’s greatest, but I’m doing my best.


The NSA may take my metadata,

But they’ll never take my stardom.

People who live in glass houses

Have to answer the door.

The only people I talk to are

My dealer and my mother.


I live above a funeral home.

All my roommates are embalmed.

That is to say, I live alone.

Life is short. Wait, life is short?

You can’t be serious. Life is the longest

Thing any one of us will ever experience.


Life’s an inappropriate in-joke I often tell.

I make allusions and references

Both over and under your head.

My grandma says I’m going to Hell.

It’s time to make the donuts,

I’ll sleep when I’m dead.



And just like that, the buzz has passed.

I had to burp and that was all.

No bloat, no gas; no pain, no gain.

What once was big is now so small.

I played a game called Go Insane,

But now I play Iconoclast.


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