Poem: I Leave It All to You

And lie or fiction, I leave it all to you, protesting that it was not me, but my shadow.

I Leave It All to You

Biography is a lie told innocently,
    a compiling, but a life is not a compilation,
    nor is a man
    the summing up of all his facts
My true life is lived behind walls,
    some of it in the dustiest of corners
Only small portions revealed,
    as though someone had peeked
    through the dishevelment of mortar,
    broken away and crumbling
Not in darkness, but light dim enough
    that even I see myself un-clearly

Autobiography is a softer fiction,
    spilled out in the winding paths
    we would have chosen for a leisurely stroll,
    mostly in someone else’s shoes
A life seen from the inside, as we hear our voice
    in a different tone than the listener and
    are surprised at the sound recorded
Writing my life, I’d skim across the happenings,
    filling endlessly with what was meant,
    chucked full of the kindnesses
    buried in every thoughtless moment,
    tirelessly forgiving all my sins

So the one is too much outsider interpretation,
    all strictness, too little bleeding
    as the subject must have bled
The other an endless bandaging,
    the frantic covering of wounds still open,
    avoiding the infection of truth,
    whatever that truth may be
The clarity of a life, meticulously researched,
    or lived with all its subtleties
    is too confounding a thing for writers
    and lie or fiction, I leave it all to you
Protesting that it was not me, but my shadow
Poetry Collection: The Smell of Tweed and Tobacco
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman's
poetry collection


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