The Truth of the Matter

The Empire of Light II-Rene Magritte 1950
The Empire of Light II-Rene Magritte 1950

You want to know the truth?
There are so many different kinds:
A truth for you and a truth for me;
If you ask me the truth of the matter
It’s that there is too much truth.
If only you would realise
The truth of what I say
Things might go a little easier
But if you really want the truth
You could find it in the empties
And lipstick stained glasses
Littering every surface…
So it a different order of truth
That you are looking for…
Well, if you must insist upon
Searching for the truth
Wherever and whatever
You will have to hear me out
As I tell you a little story
Come closer…
Closer still,
So that I can whisper
Into the shell of your ear
The whole truth and nothing
But the truth;
In between the sweet nothings,
Sweeter than any truth
That I could possibly tell you.

It is true that I was the kind,
To fall asleep at their desk
Always at the very back,
Roused only by the exasperation
Of the weary teachers
As the lesson descended
Into a chaos that was
My unconscious objective,
Quietly disruptive and
Rubbing the sleep away
I would glimpse some
Sarah or Cathy or Lisa staring
Before quickly averting their eyes
Causing me to grin
Like a cat with spilled cream,
While the teacher would rant
About taking that look off,
But I couldn’t help myself
I never could, then or now
After all how can I help my face?
Besides maybe here was
My potential partner in crime,
A willing accomplice
Someone to share, finally,
In all my myriad punishments.

All this is all very fine and gospel :
But it isn’t the whole story
Not by a long chalk.
If you want to hear everything and all
Hold me tight and look into my eyes.
Would I lie to you?

The truth is that you are not the only one
Who doesn’t know what to make of me;
Sometimes I was the class rebel,
Sometimes the comedian
But only occasionally,
Because I was really
The boy that wasn’t there
If you met me on the stairway
You might have breezed past
If I was waiting there at all,
Instead of loitering
On corners and stores
Pocketing and lifting
Whatever lay in reach
If the opportunity arose
And if not there then
Receiving my true education
In the somnolent suburban home
While rifling through the contents
Of drink and medicine cabinets,
Purses caked with make-up,
Locked draws and hidden chests
Before watching the old flick:
A world of stark black and white,
The body in the swimming pool,
The perpetually shuttered blinds,
In the decaying mansion
High in the lush Hills,
Far above the city
Blanched bone white, way down below,
Where the shadows are deeper
And the nights are oh so longer,
For the hero inescapably doomed
By a sinister fatal figure
Out of a past that refuses
To either forgive or forget.

Here then, is my eye witness
Testimony. For sure, it contains
Discrepancies, lapses, omissions
And perhaps evasions,
Even downright fabrications.
But the truth of any story
Lies in the telling;
And that, my tender, dearest one
Is the simple truth of the matter.

36 thoughts on “The Truth of the Matter

  1. This is a truly wonderful poem, with a killer conclusion that ‘the truth of any story lies in its telling’.
    I like the lines ‘Because I was really
    The boy that wasn’t there’, which are reflective of how many of us must feel as we try to gigure out our own truth.
    Your flow and structure are strong and capture the tone of an inward monologue ( as if your words were for another, but were never shared).
    A very fine piece of writing indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much Chris for the praise, especially as this is somewhat different to my usual style, and though I was pleased with it immediately after completion (but then again I always am) I never really know, like many I am my own worst judge for my own material. I think you have captured the essence of what I was attempting (though I am never really sure of that myself) excellently.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Everything can, I feel, be interpreted differently by is all, so I’m pleased that I read your intention.
        I couldn’t agree more with you regarding writing: the moment it’s complete there usually exists a feeling of satisfaction, but, if one ever looks back….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow this truth comes with a dose of food for thought. I can relate to this poem I guess all could relate. But these couple of years I struggle with truth, forgetting or forgiving. It seems like those are the song of my life.

    I enjoyed your post!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Mr. Cake, what a revelation, there’s always too much truth and not enough check yourself at the door. “The Truth of the Matter”, is sublime. So many clever twists and turns all leading back to, pick a point, any point, the starting point of an impenetrable pregnant circle. I could write an essay on this poem, every line reveals some hidden suggestion of truth waiting to be ignored, because we all seek a kinder, gentler truth with less sting and more bite, the likes of daisy chains and thorns, the make believe truth of fluff ‘n stuff. And, do we ever find our true partners in crime, the ones to share with us fitful debauchery in moments riddled with jolting electricity? Shame, when the realization hits, the truth: it’s an independent pastime, the sins of omission, making us take cover when we catch our reflection in a storefront or car window.

    “Long chalk”, love it, as I do, “Into the shell of your ear”.

    In all seriousness this is an outstanding poem, all 106 lines, and 543 words. I adore the back and forth, the flow, the provoking thoughts, the subtle, the in your face, and most of all the truth.

    The Empire of Light II, is stunning. All three are exquisite. Is there a reason you selected II? Thank you, Mr. Cake, for a wonderful poem. ~ Miss Cranes

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for your lovely comment…a much longer poem than usual. I await the essay with anticipation. Joking of course. I agree that the empire of light versions are all good, I just thought II suited the colour of the poem best. It was very difficult picking an image for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, Mr. Cake, it’s a terrific poem. I think length is irrelevant, especially if it works, and this works big time! The painting is perfect, I love the evening atmosphere with a daytime sky, giving rise to the question of reality, and or truth for that matter. Wonderful presentation. ~ Miss Cranes

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I was intently caught up inside your world from the start, the lies of little importance, because I adored the possibility of the dream. The space between sweet nothings. ..I think I like it there. What a wonderful place I hadn’t ever considered. Perfect. Drawn to the cat with sweet cream has always been a weakness of mine. So good that place you take us. So much I could say, Mr. Cake.

    Your poetry makes me happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am drawn in to this like a kitten to sweet cream. This confession is beautifully written and emotionally stirring. Sure signs of excellent poetry. I won’t ask if you found it difficult to write. It’s truly wonderful writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually enjoyed writing this. I am being tricky of course in this piece. What is truth? Though those days watching old noirs certainly did happen, I just didn’t how important they were going to be.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Mr Cake,

    This poem is very expressive and such a pleasure to read, I am sorry that I missed this when you first posted back in May 2018. Keep on writing a great gift that needs to be shared.

    Liked by 1 person

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