Jay Bradley

(Eschenbach in der Oberpfalz)

On the Surface and under


I am the beer in my blood,
The gin behind my grin,
I am the whiskey which withers away the way I walk,
The tequila that transforms the timbre of my talk,
And the wine, of course, that warms my weary elephantine soul,
In these ways I am most innocent, because they bring forth honesty,
In these ways I am most disgusting, because they bring about the human in me;

I am the tobacco that tarnishes my teeth,
That tethers my spirit,
I am the coffee that creates for me such a rush,
That relinquishes my conscious to the world on legs of caffeine,
In these ways I hide myself through alertness,
In these ways I am most pleasant to be around;

I am the pen that scribbles these words,
The instrument that creates, the one that destroys,
I am the paper onto which I write,
On which others can see the stirrings of my mind,
On which others observe only the images I provide,
On which nothing ceases because nothing begins,
Through which I fool all people, even me,
In these ways I am immortal, therefore there is no sin
until they burn me away,
In these ways I am ethical, because I can do anything
until ink blots the sky;

But I am neither the man on screen,
Nor the smile on a still,
I am neither the man about whom you read,
Nor am I the story from which you gain glee,
In these ways I am a mirror, because through me you see what you are,
I cannot be Camus or Welles,
But I can be a Mersault or Kane,
As much as Albert and Orson could be this image of me.

Submitted: Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Edited: Wednesday, September 14, 2011

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