Truth or Consequences -- Against the Coryphaeus

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They said you had no life
My imagination
They tell me that the few words
You spoke
Were empty
Only a residue of vodka
Beside the pillow
They say you had no life in you
That I did not put there
But I believe
In neurons and in you

Did you not smell the smoke on the wind?

Did you mistake fire for flame?
Did you see the absence of promise
As a sign of an honest heart?
Hear us now:
Kisses are but ashes on the breath
Of an unkind lover.

They said you were never anything but cold
And I breathed upon you
The only heat you held
Past dawn. 
You had already put me down
In those first weeks
Looking across Montana for the next woman
To prove
What I already believed

Forget, what you think you knew.
His kisses were ashes
Lie, lay, lye

Under my hand your face went still
You brow unfolded
And thus you settled, lay across me, rested
We slept and did not
For my lips a quicker quickening
And I persist in thinking
It was no false delight when you laughed
And surely I did recognize the tremor
When you so recognized

You should've listened to us
Do not fall so hard against
The unquiet evidence of hands,
Of lip, of tongue, of breath, of sweat, 
These most tender gifts easily spin
The only human treasure
Or slip upon the weft of that oldest lie
A fool is fooled
As many before and many will after be
Ashes of kisses

Lies upon October
December silence
January empties
No deposit, no return
Why grieve over
The detritus of faith?

They say you were poaching
Needing nothing
But the seducer's micaceous gold
And by finding it again and yet again,
Can prove you still have the stakes--
Until, of course, you do not
And must take what is left
Paying then a higher cost for smaller heat
Proven wrong
Even thrice
With the instinct of the branded
I am yet a last believer
In the paradox of who
I knew

Fool, he gave you nothing, brought you naught,
Took you nowhere, showed you to none,
Gifted you without one object of good faith
Kisses are only the ashes of breath....


Hush now
You singers
Tell me no more of the acid moon
The sorrows of sparrows
Nor of birthday's without wishes
And one lost black feather
I hold the secret
I believe
oh, I believed


On Alterations