Soul Snatching, Spring Semester

Were I eighteen, I’d look up to John Searle.
I would scribble beer mats full of formulae,
imagining I understood his world.
With coasters scrawled with theorems, I would lie
abed for weeks while universes whirled
behind my tight-shut eyes. (I might still try.)
Mind, Language, and Society carouse
through my feverish brain which Searle asserts can’t house

my Me. He says Mind’s process, not eternal,
but something like digestion, caused by gas.
Oh beery one, Homunculus Internal,
if Searle is right, you don’t exist. Nor can you last
eternally. I thought you my husk’s kernel
but Searle says you are not. I’d fail his class.
Your counsel that I audit him is keen
advice I’d take, were I again eighteen.

Had I less age, and Searle his present stature,
I’d be too awed to bellyache and bore
on him for what he doesn’t say: re Catcher
in the Rye, the truths of blues, the mystic lore
that Yeats immortalised. Poe’s body snatcher.
But twenty years have passed, and fifty more.
A century if I’m honest, which I doubt.
Time goes elastic when My space runs out.

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