The truth is that the truth is complicated.
The truth is, nothing’s ever all you need
To know. The truth is, truth is overrated
Sometimes. And there are fantasies we feed
That turn to truth if they are beautiful
Enough. The truth is always in the eye
Of the beholder. Some of us are blind,
As well, and some of us dyed-in-the-wool
Liars. And others predisposed to buy
It, burn, and say the trick is not to mind.

Tell me again how beautiful you think
I am, how if we found ourselves alone
You’d ravish me. Look! Figures on the brink
Of love, forever wedded to our own
Imaginings, arrested at the height
Of wanting it. Remind you of anyone?
Tell me again the things you’re going to do
To me someday. Recant, rekindle, fight
Remorse, then tell yourself it’s all in fun
Anyway. Not a word of it is true.

The beauty of it is, the truth comes out,
Ugly or not. We know the things we know.
Sublime self-saturation, hunger, doubt –
Shocking in their refusal to let go.
The truth: I meant the things I said. I’ve earned
As much, but what does being owed the right
To something mean? Fair attitude! Escape
Artist, dreamer, whoever you are: I’ve learned
Truth’s relative, and beauty an insight
We get too late. That’s all. O, Attic shape.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 30 Number 8, on page 36
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