A True Story

Originally posted 2010; revised again in 2012.

Let us start by saying
that it may not be true

that a famous poet
once committed
psychological torture
upon a graduate student
in order to observe her behavior
and derive content
for a book of poems.

It may not be true
that he was not alone in his effort,
having enlisted other graduate students
to assist him and observe and report
on their comrade.

But it is true
that as an undergrad
I once sat in a dorm room
hearing this story
from the woman
who had been abused

or claimed
to have been abused,

and I believed it,

and in outrage
I told this story
to many people
for many years
as if it were certainly true,

naming all the names as I did.

When the book in question
was published to no acclaim
and general bewilderment (what had
happened? where had
the famous poet’s talent gone?)

I kept telling the story; then

the famous poet
redeemed himself
with better books,
I began to be noticed myself, 

and I began to choose my listeners
and hedge the details
and withhold names,

and soon I stopped telling the story.

What I tell you now is also true:
I have read the work of the famous poet
and wondered,
and thought about it,
and looked for clues,

and I have written a lot of poems since then
and wondered,
and looked for clues,

and thought about truth
and redemption
through poems,

though I am too often
amazed and ashamed
of what poets will do

in the pursuit of poems,
truth,
redemption; 

for instance,

I wrote
this.

Advertisements

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

One response to “A True Story

  • Eileen

    This may be the first time I really did laugh out loud at one of your poems.
    The serpentine build up was a beautiful set up for the denouement.

%d bloggers like this: