The Lie

Art begins with a lie
      The separation is you plus me plus what we make
            Look into lightbulb, blink, sun’s in your eye

I want a rare sky
      vantage point free from misconception
            Art begins with a lie

Nothing to lose, spontaneous rise
      of reflection, paint the picture
            of a lightbulb, or eye the sun

How to fuel the world, then die
      Distance yourself from artfulness
            How? Art begins with a lie

The audience wants to cry
      when the actors are real & passionate
            Look into footlight, then feed back to eye

You fluctuate in an artful body
      You try to imitate the world’s glory
            Art begins with a lie
                  That’s the story, sharp speck in the eye.

Anne Waldman, “The Lie” from Helping the Dreamer: Selected Poems, 1966-1988. Copyright © 1989 by Anne Waldman. Reprinted with the permission of Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, www.coffeehousepress.com.
Source: Helping the Dreamer: Selected Poems 1966-1988 (Coffee House Press, 1989)
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