–A friend asked “Jim how are you —really?”
I thought, “Must be a trick question.”

Not a trick by the asker
but trick by
my inner magician,
my personal convoluter,
my lithe prevaricator
who first teased Eve
under a tree
with the acid, orange
kumquat of knowledge
which he bounced
upon his forked tongue
and upon which Eve
and her shifty lover
sadly choked

The question,
How are you, really?
is impossible for a fake
to bear
To answer would be
to mock God
who sees through spin
no matter how sincere

Better to say,
Gooder ‘n some
Better to say,
Badder ‘n others
Better to say,
A mixed bag complex.
A hick in a zoot suit
A pansey in a bucket
of muck

I keep up appearances
I do my thing

I balance odds and ends
as best I can

I go not where the four
winds blow

You want the naked truth?
Let me think about it ’cause
I don’t know

Neil Bruder @neilbruder