The Wisdom of Others
Concerning Opinions

"Truth is one forever absolute, but opinion is truth filtered through the moods, the blood, the disposition of the spectator."

~~ Wendell Phillips (1859)

"When half the people believe one thing, and the other half another, it is usually safe to accept either opinion."

~~ Edgar Watson Howe (1919)


"Safe to Accept Either Opinion"

I adjust the light of the silver gooseneck lamp
so it beats directly on two letters Id received;
trust somewhere in the glare, Ill find myself
in missives from visionaries Id never met.

The first, a clairvoyant whod briefly held
a slab of amethyst that once belonged to me.
She declares me complex, practical, sensitive,
nurturing a kindly person with impeccable
manners who does not suffer fools gladly --
a moderate, classic soul in love with theater
and antiquated books, quick-witted,
bored easily by routine.

The second, an ex-wife whod briefly held
a man who now belonged to me.
She declares me simple, conniving, obscene,
indecent a home-wrecker with no sense
of family who cares little about havoc --
a teasing, tempting whore in love with herself
enough to make Eves notorious apple
seem cultivated in comparison.

I wish I didnt know carving words
on paper doesnt make them so.
This knowledge, though,
does make the second letter
much easier to dismiss,
even as it makes the first letter
much harder to believe.

2000 MJM

Featured in the Winter 2000 Edition of Verse Libre: Free Verse Quarterly [V:1, E:1]



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