Not even a question of lying

‘Why do we feel slightly crazy when we realise we have been lied to in a relationship?

We take so much of the universe on trust. You tell me: “In 1950 I lived on the north side of Beacon Street in Somerville”. You tell me: “She and I were lovers, but for months now we have only been good friends”. You tell me: “It is seventy degrees outside and the sun is shining”. Because I love you, because there is not even a question of lying between us, I take these accounts of the universe on trust: your address twenty-five years ago, your relationship with someone I know only on sight, this morning’s weather. I fling unconscious tendrils of belief, like slender green threads, across statements such as these, statements made so unequivocally, which have no tone or shadow of tentativeness. I build them into the mosaic of my world. I allow my universe to change in minute, significant ways, on the basis of things you have said to me, of my trust in you.

I also have faith that you are telling me things it is important I should know; that you do not conceal facts from me in an effort to spare me, or yourself, pain.

Or, at the very least, that you will say, “There are things I am not telling you”.

When we discover that someone we trusted can be trusted no longer, it forces us to reexamine the universe, to question the whole instinct and concept of trust. For awhile, we are thrust back onto some bleak, jutting edge, in a dark pierced by sheets of fire, swept by sheets of rain, in a world before kinship, or naming, or tenderness exist; we are brought close to formlessness.’

For many years now, these words, by Adrienne Rich, have echoed and resonated in my life in the most painful ways. And, each time I start a new chapter I hope against hope that these words will be burned away by the light of trust, honesty and transparency about those things that are important. Each time I ask the universe and myself, ‘Will this be the one. Will the echo of these words finally leave me at last’. And each time the answer is, ‘No. Not yet. Not yet.’

I am tired of looking back and reexamining the mosaic of my world only to discover that my experience and my life was changed in both minute and significant ways on the basis of lies. I am weary of the bickering drama of them.

But now, still, there is hope. I can see it, just over there on the horizon. A glimmer. It is driving toward me from across the plains of Andalucia perhaps. The faint scent of the orange gardens in Seville joining and swirling in the tendrils of light as they make their long way to the echo chambers of my heart. It is just a glimmer. But it is enough. I am ready. I am ready.


Openly wanting something
like the opened up lungs of a singer.
I walk by the carriage of the river
and the vinegar wind assaults.
Is this an age of promise? I blush
to want. If I were walking with you,
arm-in-arm, along some
iron promenade, you could fill me up
with hope, you could push back
my stiffened hair with want. I’ll just lie down,
my ribs opened up in the old town square
and let the pigs root through my chest.

The Indigo Field

Two bees hang
around a severed horse’s head
forgetting that they’re supposed to
flowers instead of
the roughly opened gland
of a mammal.
Black pennies
with cow faces
down a black well.
You stood no chance
of finding the hope you longed for
I tell myself,
as the sea cannibalises.
It manages to forgive itself
every day, without visions
of the girl
making her way towards me
across the indigo field.