“Orpheus in Athens” by Jack Spicer

Jean-Léon_Gérôme_-_Diogenes_-_Walters_37131

Diogenes the onion-eater, watched by dogs, sitting in his tub. By Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1860

The boy had never seen an honest man.
He looked among us every night he said.
He eyed each stranger like Diogenes
And took him with his lantern into bed.
He'd probe the stranger's body with that light
Search every corner of his flesh and bone
But truth was never there. He'd spend the night
Then leave him and resume his search alone.
I tried to tell him there was some mistake
That truth's a virtue only strangers lack.
But when he turned to face me with a kiss
I closed my lying heart against his lips.

From “My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer”

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