A Torrid Truth

by Janis Gaines

You talk to me with a straight face
And pretend to tell me the truth
But the story from the left side of your mouth
Doesn’t match the right
You relay the hard facts
Without so much as a tremble
Somehow your voice is too nimble
And I’m on to you
You’re ready with the trite word and phrase
But I’m still left in a haze
Of disbelief
You can say it again and again
And I’ll repeat your words if you want me to
But I know the truth
The underbelly of the danseuse
Is scantily clad in lace and bright rags
And though you have mad gyrations to distract me
A verbiage of smoke and mirrors
I can clearly see
A vulnerability
A mark, a plain truth

Don’t try to hide
After all, the world will know
When you have passed out drunk
On your own urine


© September 11, 2015
Asheville, NC

This poem was inspired by listening to the replay of the 9/11 news tapes (“9/11: As It Happened”). Some of the reporters were too composed at times and often changed their wording, their story. I remember thinking years ago when this event first happened that the whole news system was too quick and too unified to announce a “war on terror,” as if it had been pre-scripted, pre-planned. I, personally, believe there is so much controversy surrounding the whole event; I don’t believe everything that we’ve been told. The image of the dancing girl is a metaphor for the whole political system. We are often seduced and entertained, even as we are being lied to. This poem ended a little darker than I had expected, but once I’m that far into a poem, they typically write themselves and that seemed to be what needed to be said. Also, I almost wanted to write “a plane truth” but decided it might be too cheesy. It’s probably not obvious from the rest of the poem that this is what it’s about. Ultimately, I think it can have broader applications for anyone who has ever felt conned.