in Cambridge, England, 1943.
Outside, a rainy night, the Kardomah closed,
long queues at the Alhambra
for Max Miller, the Cheeky Chappie.
Wittgenstein: The world is everything.
Russell: Man is not a solitary animal.
Popper: History has no meaning.
Zeleznik: The world is a fiction of memories.
Did Wittgenstein pick up the poker
to emphasise a point?
Or silence Popper?
Did Popper mention the poker
to point a moral paradox?
Or mock Wittgenstein?
Did Russell call one an ‘upstart’,
the other ‘erudite’?
Or admonish them both?
Did Zeleznik arrive with Wittgenstein,
agree with Popper,
and leave with Russell?
Or was he at The Alhambra?
Next morning, the skivvy, who had
certainly been at the music hall, removed
the ashes and re-set the fire. The poker
she moved from wherever it was to
wherever she judged it should be –
Woman: Is this Cockfosters?
Max: No, madam, Miller’s the name!