Posted in Lies

Self Portrait

The reply was chilled and authoritarian
sharp correction of erroneous belief
a reprimand
part rebuke – part retort
the tone used to impart what should not be forgotten.

She said she wasn’t a smoker.
As someone who never had
I could smell the lie
a lie that wasn’t
but makeup applied to a disfiguring blemish.

By Ecclesiastes there is a time for everything
and nicotine’s reign of cool had passed.
Denial of vice wasn’t the point
emphasis of strength was.

She was my successor
I had confessed regret
regret at meager return on investment in change.
Workplace esteem
so often a fugitive from truth, confided failure
equating efforts at change to squeezing water.
It came to willpower she said. Said she had it in abundance.

Willpower coughs at tobacco weakness
the whiff of imperfection.
Brief absences returned with nicotine’s exhaust
require listened away from inconsistency
an author reviewing their own work
the ascendancy of purity over disclosure
a matter of selection.
The difference between an obituary and a eulogy.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.

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