Poem: Mark Fiddes

Freddie Ayer

1968 and it’s all logically positive

Beige fabric drapes the TV studio in strips of lightning.
Our philosopher imp sits on the sofa twinkling and smoking
in unassailable tweeds and trousers tailored for a hippo.
An interstellar chrome ashtray hovers alongside, co-starring.
His philandering eye moistly winkles out the researcher
with clipboard and specs who might yet be an ex-student
before the interviewer spin bowls a fresh question of decent length.
The philosopher reels off Schlick, Carnap, Frank, Feigl, Neurath,
Gödel and Bergmann like they were the seven dwarves of logic
to his Snow White, co-causing an eyelash flutter at the girl floating
beyond the cables and spotlights in the pink knitted twinset.
Next he tackles Ethics, rattles some matches from his pocket,
lights up again, produces smoke, like he’s charcoal burning sticks
of Truth from raw Nature, telling the War Century’s great secret
that Morality is nothing more than Oxbridge for Being Bossy.
Then catching himself on a monitor, he identifies transcendence
(a transmission of pure sense data projected onto a colour cloud
meaning he will never be more real than this, even in a future
where nothing will exist until televised and modern philosophers
will be pop promoters, gossip queens and cheeky banterists).
The interviewer ends on a shuttlecock knocked up for a smash:
“So thinking back to the Vienna years, what image comes to mind?”
The galactic ashtray intercepts a last fag as the philosopher quips:
“A signpost saying Wien.”
Irritatingly, he has never heard a sign talk, but only one truth matters:
the minx with notes chewing the pencil behind Camera 3
who will shortly accompany him through the press of technicians
to the place that is neither green nor wholly a room at the same time
for Scotch on the metaphorical rocks and the possibility of peanuts.
Mark Fiddes lives in South London and works in Soho. His first poetry pamphlet, The Chelsea Flower Show Massacre (Templar Poetry), was published in March. Shortlisted in the 2015 Saboteur Awards, it also featured as poetry book of the month by Lovereading.com. Most recently he was winner in Ireland’s 2015 Dromineer Poetry Festival in and 2nd in the 2015 Bridport Prize.

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