Sometimes the voices in your head
aren’t telling you the whole truth.
Sometimes even your drugs and lovers lie.
‘The best policy’ might well be the one
you’ve taken out on someone else’s life.
Nightmares and comic strips, old spouses’
tales: fake fur is more honest
than blood on snow. Authenticity,
New York City, Felicity Kendal
are all urban myths. When I was a teacher
the really smart kids saw through
‘Hard work brings rewards.’ But then,
I’ve always told lies for a living:
dole forms, poetry, I once wrote
a column for a Murdoch paper.

When General Millán-Astray
cried ‘Long live death!’ he was sincere.
By their fruits … Today a few of these fruits:
skulls, a finger, maybe a thousand
fragments are ripe of the quarter million
who were testament to the general’s
truth to himself. They are being picked
and by their DNA we know them.
Millán-Astray’s wife only revealed
after their wedding her wish
to remain a virgin.
‘Death to intelligence!’
was his other slogan.
We still use ‘clever’ as an insult.

Tim Thorne

Tim Thorne’s fourteenth and most recent poetry collection is The Unspeak Poems and other verses (Walleah Press, 2014). In 2012 he was awarded the Christopher Brennan Award for his contribution to Australian poetry.

More by Tim Thorne ›

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