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Posts Tagged ‘truth’

 

 

The Truth and What-I-Want-to-Hear

sidle up to me like two old drunks,

one wearing a heavy coat and the other

stark naked.

 

“You know,” says the one,

leaning in to whisper,

“You know you are doing thish

perfectly. You are the besht mother

there ever was. Your children

are sho lucky to have you ash their mom.

You desherve a medal. Really. A medal.”

She hiccups at the end.

 

“Don’t lishen to her,”

says the other, grabbing

my arm and tugging me strong.

“You get it wrong a lot. And even

when you do your besht,

there’sh always more to do.

You fuck it up even when you’re trying

to get it right. It’s jusht what mothersh do.”

 

And we walk like that through the alley.

And we walk like that through the store.

And we walk like that through the living room.

And we walk like that to the car.

 

And the naked one laughs like a maniac

as she tugs on my arm again.

“But you love them, don’t you,

You love them chillens. Love is never

enough. And it’s all we have.”

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Mom, she said, is it true? And it wasn’t

that I’d tried to keep the truth from her,

it just never came into conversation,

old horses are sometimes used for glue.

 

Yes, I said, wishing I could soften the message. It’s true.

She knew its truth already, but don’t we all

sometimes long to be wrong? New tears dammed

in her eyes before they fell. Is that really

 

the world I belong to? she rued, then buried

her face in the couch. Two hours later,

I thought her same thought as I read the news:

Anti-Semitism. Bribery. Child sexual abuse.

 

I wanted to hear the stories weren’t true.

Oh world, so broken, still, unglued, I choose you.

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The Lesson

 

 

I asked the world

to teach me of truth

and waited and waited

for a lesson. Anything.

A bird. A rainbow.

A bug. A storm.

But nothing.

And so I went in

and made a cup

coffee—ground

the beans and steamed

the milk and cradled

the cup in my hands.

And I tasted it.

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A Shade of the Truth

 

 

 

 

How soon the flowers wilt.

Wasn’t it just yesterday

you planted them, just an hour ago

there were mounds of bloom

shining in the rain?

You want to believe there’s a flower

that never stops opening,

want to believe that flower

is you.

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After

 

 

 

cut off my tongue, then,

so I can’t say what I know,

and turn me into a nightingale

 

there are other ways to sing—

feel the sun, how it always tells the truth

 

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When they ask what you did this morning,

tell them, “Oh, nothing much.”

When they say, “What are you doing tomorrow,”

shrug and say, “Oh, I’m busy.

We have plans.” That is true.

Say goodbye today as if you mean it.

Do not mention the cake, the balloons, the gift.

I know. It’s hard to keep a secret.

And just when you think you would burst

if you could, remind yourself

it’s for their own good.

Tell yourself, it is better this way.

No. Sweetheart. Forget what I say.

If it’s not a surprise, that’s okay.

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The field is full of sweet clover.

This is the truest line I can write.

There was a time when,

with discriminating precision,

I cleared this field of sweet clover,

preferring only rushes and grass.

Now, after a rain-rich spring

and a sweltering summer,

the deep field is startlingly aglow

with millions of tiny yellow flowers.

The field full of sweet clover is beautiful.

This is an opinion.

A woman can think what she wants to think.

Sometimes her thoughts think her.

Beautiful. Not beautiful.

This argument stretches

past the open field.

Sweet clover has a taproot

is difficult to pull up when the earth is dry.

This is a fact.

In a woman, there are ten thousand

tap-rooted lies about how she looks

and who she is. If she pulls one up,

and even a bit of the lie remains,

it comes back twice as vigorous.

The field is full of sweet clover.

There is something so comforting

about knowing it is true,

so comforting I say it again.

The field is full of sweet clover.

There are thousands of honeybees.

The field is full of sweet clover.

I look into it like a mirror.

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It had not yet hit the cement floor
and shattered into incalculable smithereens.
I was, of course, in a hurry.
It was, of course, glass.

I can freeze it, the moment
I knew the bottle was going to fall
and there was not a thing
I could do to stop it—

that moment as brief as when
I decided to tell the truth
after he asked the question
I hoped he would never ask.

All those shards—they never
go back to a whole. How the sunlight
gathers in them, thousands of prisms
scattered all over the floor.

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I know you’re kinda mad I’m late. I’m sorry,
but you see there was this tiger trapped
up high inside a tree who offered me
a cherry tart if only I would help
him down. What could I do? It just did not
seem right to leave him stranded there. And so
I asked a large tarantula to weave
a silken net to catch the tiger when
he leapt. Well, she was tired from having laid
nine hundred eggs the day before, but when
she heard about the tart, she said she’d try.
A tern and toucan flying by said they
would help me hold the net to catch the tiger
when she leapt. What luck! I didn’t know
they lived around here. Anyway, a toad
in a tiara started teasing them.
He said our plan would never work, that birds
would not be strong enough to catch a tiger.
That’s when the triceratops came rambling
by and said he’d help us, too. But he
began to sneeze, his allergies were acting
up, perhaps it was the tulips? Or
the toadstool? I don’t know. The bummer was
he sneezed so much he had to go. The toucan
and the tern, offended by the toad,
flew off. They said, “A tart is not enough
for this abuse!” So there I sat beneath
the tiger, not sure what to do. That’s when
a turtle sat beside me and suggested
we could use his thimble as a diving
pool. The tiger had his doubts until
he saw a trout tail swish inside the thimble.
And he dove! And landed with a splash!
And came up with the trout between his teeth!
The bad news is he left the tart up in
the tree. And then the grumpy toad began
to throw tomatoes at the turtle. And
at me! And so I ran the whole way home.
I don’t know where the tiger’s gone—he mentioned
wanting to audition for a band.
He said he plays the triangle. It’s weird,
I know. So weird I worried that you’d not
believe me. I thought maybe I should lie
and tell you that I’m late because I didn’t
want to leave my friend’s house in the middle
of our game. But lying is so rude.
I knew that you’d appreciate the truth.

*This is a T poem for Lian Canty’s Alphabet Menagerie, http://www.alphabetmenagerie.com

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So Eve said to the snake,
I don’t really like fruit,
and the snake said to Eve
that the story would sound
much better down the line
with an apple instead
of a forbidden parsnip.
No one craves parsnips anyway,
he hissed. No one would believe
in the centuries to come
that a woman would risk everything
for a root. He was the kind
of snake that knew
what a difference
the right symbol can make.
Nope, said Eve, I’m just
not into apples. So
the snake did what any
snake would do, he
offered her what she
wanted, a parsnip,
with cream-colored flesh
and cream-colored skin,
and she bit
as he knew she would do,
but then he lied about it all,
said she’d eaten the apple.
It was better this way,
this lie so small, just one
tiny seed inside a much
greater garden.

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