POETRY: The Liar’s Psalm—Repentance by Andrew Hudgins

The Liar’s Psalm—Repentance by Andrew Hudgins

I repent the actual. It has never got me anywhere.
It is nothing against principalities, against powers.
My father will die and I will carry on. I dread his death

more than mine because it will come sooner—knowledge I repent. In lies
he will outlive the liar. And that’s me. The lie itself
will carry on, is itself a child, a separate life, a blow

against the gods of objects. Who are not happy with me
or with their densities. They are not worth their flawed kingdoms.
And neither do I love them. They are dangerous. They are too
stupid to be insignificant, too proud of their ability
to blister my hands and make them raw. I repent letting them,
and I repent logic, which has no god: it will do

anything, it will go anywhere. Tell it your destination
and it will take you there. A taxi. This is the nature
of evidence: how could you prove the meat you ate last night

wasn’t horse meat, goat flesh,
or something I had, the night before, sliced from my thighs?
Or that it was meat at all? Or that you ate? There is no

bottom to what we will believe, and no top.
So I have made this vow.
Never again will I insult you with the actual, something

that has no birthday, while lies are born
six times a second and each with a festival. They are the gifts
we give ourselves, like morphine, a change of clothes, a piece

of apple pie, a black chrysanthemum, a job—I could go on.
I am ashamed when I remember whom I have attacked
with actuality. My mother with her stinginess. My wife

with her black and purple dress—you should have seen it!–
and her infidelities. My friend who steals ashtrays. My brother’s
avoirdupois. I repent that blade and I repent

my skill with it. When blessed with falsehoods, I will tell them.
When told a lie, I will believe it. I will not doubt
a word you say. Forgive me now my finger in the wound, and knuckle deep.

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