These are not black and whites.
They live together.
The actor spends a career learning
To lie truthfully.
Does their capacity to do so
Spring from the innate duplicity
Of their own lives?
Are these celebrated artists of welcomed deceit
Just pathetic liars in reality?
Across the globe,
People are parroting,
With great conviction,
The things they have been told.
To this, they add what they sincerely see,
Although infused with
Distortion, bias, poor logic, limited knowledge and
Lots of filling-in-of-the-blanks.
There are so many blanks in life.
There are so many unknowns.
The mystery of who we are inside,
Where we came from and where we are going,
Can be more elusive than the search for God.
Being in the present of any given moment
Can terrify more than the certainty of our mortality.
And so, to fend us from utter incapacitation,
We construct a world of almost-fact
That satisfies our need for certainty and
Reconciles sloppy thinking.
All of it,
A truthful lie when we speak it.
Lie and Truth met at a club one night.
One was easy, the other genteel and well-dressed.
Truth accidentally spilled Lie's drink at the bar.
He offered to buy her another.
They fell into conversation.
It was wrong and delicious.
Lie had too much to drink;
Truth saw an opening and betrayed himself.
He drove her home.
After all, she was in no condition and he was a gentleman.
On the living room sofa,
They grew gradually, irresistibly closer
Like human magnets.
By the time dawn peeked through the window,
Truth had made hot love.
Lie had moving sex.
Strange bedfellows that could never work as a couple
But who hook up
More than anyone wants to admit.
In the work of actors who do it with elegance,
Their lying truths show us who we are.
At what expense this comes to the artist,
Only drugs, suicide, divorce, and calamity know.
These marked souls guide the way.
Some are temporary healer-shamans
Who sink into Ego and Narcissus
The moment the curtain is drawn,
The scene fades,
The last word is spoken,
The brush is put down
And the light is turned off.
You bump into them at the market some day
Under the glare of the mundane;
Their arrogance, shallowness, and vanity leaving you to wonder
“Where did that beautiful creature I saw the other night disappear to?”
And there is such loss.
Even the selfish artist has a profound gift to give the world.
Whether it feeds them nourishment
Or aggravates their unrequited hungers
Is another matter unto itself.
But their lies of creation heal even when they are falling apart.
Every generation claims
The world is in a more dangerous and precarious place
Than it was before.
If not a truthful lie this time around,
It's true because the gross dangers of bombs and war
Have been replaced by a threat to our very willingness
To know what is real.
Pitchmen and Propagandists
Gladly step in to tell us what to believe
And far too many are willing to be lead by the nose
To whatever fetid waters these extremists
Wish to take us.
In this UpsideDownWorld
We blame the poor and worship the rich.
We are more passionately engaged in the battle between sport teams
Then we are in the battle for social justice.
Our eyes are keenly set on “getting a good deal” someplace
Even while bankers lift the wallet out of our back pockets.
That is all my lying truthfully,
Because what is real is surely greater than what I see.
I do hope and pray though
That my perception is clearer than the average;
That, unlike the actor, I can share
A truth that comes from who I really am
And not through the compulsion to become someone else
To have something to give you.
When I spill your drink,
I am Truth.
And other nights,
When I am scared and desperate
Wearing a little too much cologne
And hungry for someone to call me “pretty”,
I am Lie.
Truth and Lie are not black and white.
There is no gray area between them.
They are the gray area.