Forgive my Deception, as I Forgive Yours

Everybody else's soul seems to be sewn
Merely to the underside
Of their skin.
But strip back my skin and you will find
Very little there to satisfy
Any kind of morbid curiosity.

When I envisage my soul,
Myself,
I envisage a well:
A well so deep and so dark
That its echo of your call
Could not reach you.

Because the thing is, you see,
I would much rather be liked
For your interpretations of me,
Than loved, or more likely loathed,
For the true blackness that lies
In the depths of this well.

But if you do wish to discover me,
Search not in my eyes,
Nor in the words I speak
Or the things I do,
For all that is a show,
An elaborate opera – a Greek tragedy
That I perform for you.

Search instead in the graffiti
That lines the walls of this well,
The white chalk words etched
Into shadowy brick and crumbling mortar.
My favourite poems,
My favourite novels and plays
Say more about me
Than my face.

Search instead in the water I retrieve
From deep within myself.
This water pours itself out in rhyme,
In the time I devote, when I shouldn't,
To inscribing myself onto a page,
And having the nerve to call my words
Poetry.

For my writings are the worst
And the best
Of me.

Search between my lines and my words,
For in amongst all the dramatics,
The blackness and the theatrics,
You will find more truth there
Than you will ever hear me articulate
Out loud.

You must read every word chalked in ink
Against the brick walls of this well,
And explore every inch of blackness
Between the words,
In order to drink, with clarity,
The water below.
In order, in other words,
To understand my soul.

Call this another confession,
If you will.