On truth in print
It takes the truth for you to see yourself, but it scares you. There in front of you. The sick fuck of your own soul appearing naked before your own eyes. In your eyes. Everywhere. You can’t see anything else. Your own soul – that thing corrupted by industry’s twisted metallurgy and misogynist sick fuck patriarchy which slams down on everything that doesn’t swing the right way.
Then, fuck! You see it. Bare and in front of you. No! But in fact yes! But you hate it. It is everything you don’t want to see: rotten, decaying, putrid. It is the thousand things you left unsaid. It is the truth that if you do nothing, you are doing so much of what you hate. That you are what disgusts you. You are what you never want to see.
Fuck, you think. Fuck, I am the sick fuck society. Because it’s true, you are it. You embody it. You can’t extract yourself from it. You can’t say, well this part, this rational thinking part, is fine, it’s doing alright, it’s separate from the rest, because it is not. You are the sick fuck society. The best you can do is try and arrest your decline, to slow your descent, wipe some of the shit away onto a towel and run miles away. No warm bath for you.
And you can’t shit it out. You go to the toilet. But it won’t come out. Fuck. Everything you are. Your clothes your life your liberty, your ideas – the shit you think is yours alone and yours to cherish – are the complete, the total, the disgusting rotten soul that is revealed as you when you read the mirror of truth.
But you cannot face the truth. So you tighten society’s wool around yourself. The wool of standards, and rhetoric, and logical fallacies, and accepted grammar and this before that but not before him because they said it’s that. You pull society’s woollen shawl around yourself. But the same wool is knitted inside you, matted in your own excrement.
Still, you pull the wool tighter and tighter around yourself when you see the truth because the truth makes you cold. The shivers. The shivers as your skin recedes from your nails, pulling back with it the toothpaste whiteness that covers the decrepit muscles that are rank with the stench of your own death. Underneath is the world of death you want to be part of. Climbing. Climbing. Look at your certificates on the wall. Look at them hanging. Look at your numbers everywhere. Your truths that they said are true and so must be true. You will be respected. You will be someone.
But every step up you take you have to tighten the wool of shit around you because the shivers are too much. But the wool of shit – your shit, remember, nothing else – keeps you safe. It keeps you clothed and in the world of what-they-say-is-true.
Over time, the moments become less frequent. It takes something, it takes something like a mirror of truth for you to see yourself as you are: a rotten soul subsumed and consumed by society’s wool of shit. You have immersed yourself in the cacophonous growl of society’s shit just to try and climb above it. You reached out your hand for the rim of the toilet seat and the bowl and wool collapsed around you.
The truth tears away the skin and shows you your own rotten carcass beneath your skin; you see what lies beneath the wool you pull tighter around yourself. The truth violently proves that you are what you fear.
This poem is dedicated to Dambudzo Marechera.