Poem: A Certain Kind of Truth

A Certain Kind of Truth

A table full of books. Walls as well.
It began at your grandparents,
at your Great Aunt Helen’s
and her Victorian Museum of a house,
the dark corners where you learned to read.
When they died, other people got furniture.
I got the libraries, I have them still.

As a child, the only punishment that had effect
was a banning of the boy from the school library.
I would cry at it, my life suddenly banished,
left to live in a world that was so much…. less.
I am not sure how healthy it all was.

I am not sure how much better I am now.
All those books in my head, and the ones read since,
every era, every genre, all mixed together in a boy’s head,
A New Orleans Gothic Sci Fi Mystery, with a love story,
Until you shake it and some new combination shows itself,
a snow globe of scenarios.

I learned my geography in words. My history.
I learned to kiss from pages, probably 19th century.
All romance and flourish. I learned to see reading
Holmes and Dali and a muttering Monet all whispering in my ears.
I knew Venice, Paris, London long before the first visit,
and they were exactly as the words had told me they would be.

Part of me knows this is unhealthy.
Words are rarely accurate,
particularly in the fiction and poetry I prefer,
or, maybe, just maybe,
they are more true than truth.

About this poem

Words formed me. They still are.


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