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Reeling The Liars In

Look around you.

Direct your gaze over towards the low hill of politicking and gamesmanship and tell me what you see.


I’ll tell you what I see.

I see toddlers in men’s suits, conning other toddlers into that painful fiction. I see grown men yelling across expensive tables loaded to the brim with complex law volumes the pages of which are as clean as a laboratory floor. I see hatred, malice, vindictiveness, falsity, nastiness, cunning flash across red, semi-dilated pupils, amphetamine spittle flicking out over the ends of decaying slabs of talk-meat.

I hear the insect-traps of patriotism snapping and buzzing as clean hearts burn black with false panic. I smell the rotting flesh of nationalism piling up in the streets. I taste the tar shuddering through the veins of economists shouting profit! profit! prophet!

Ghostly outlines of cities being filled in by real men who are ghostly outlines of real men!

I recoil at the liars face: he is selling cosmetics to children. His breath is quickening, out of fear or excitement, or the twisted combination of the two that must cross the mind of the rapist.

I see the cigar and the mottled lips, only woman he can f*ck and look in the eye.

Our gross domestic product is apathy, sweet suicidal apathy, short term memory loss, binge and purge. Our churches are brown. Our priests are trading god for a chance to rape spirit.

Our media are staggering around the apartment complex, drunk and looking for a cheap f*ck, pockets lined with payoffs from cheaper f*cks still.

Blind, wretched piglets on cold gratings, struggling past their own open sores to taste metallic tin-milk. Flashes of cold steel amputating beaks in hot cages where the smell of shit only ever gets stronger. Metal on bone, not wanting to give up, reluctant surrender.

Our wheels of karma are multi-storey buildings with suicide nets. Suicide nets. Suicide nets. Stop the man from dying, he has work to finish. Keep him here, death is an outrage. Survive.

I recoil at the liars face: he is selling free markets to children. His breath is quickening, out of fear and excitement, that twisted combination of the two that must cross the mind of the rapist.

Gain wealth forgetting all but self. Repeat after me:

My son, you will live as I have lived. Eat the food, never ask where it is from. Drink the water, don’t notice the greying. Say the words as if you know what they mean, don’t falter. Wear the right clothes. Marry the right one. Don’t do drugs.

Lie. Lie. Lie. Don’t stop.

We won’t lock you up for lying. We’ll lock you up for missing a beat.

Keep going. Be consistent. Maintain momentum.

“We are reeling the liars in,”

I just removed his face. I found a mirror.

“We are removing their face,”

The skin I collected was mine.

“Collecting their skin,”

It’s time.

“The only true place, the place to begin, is by reeling this liar in.”

My dear friend, I’ve been lying to you all along, and my heart cracked open in the betrayal. I must tell you everything.

I never wanted you, until I saw you.

I’m afraid too.

I don’t know what they mean, but I go along with it.

I never really know what to say to you.

Sometimes I tell you that I’m happy when I’m not.

I talk about you behind your back.

I don’t know if I know how to really trust anyone.

I get hurt badly and thicken my skin, it’s hard for anyone to come in.

I want it, I close my heart and choose safety over love.

Words catch in my throat every day, a thousand songs get left unsung.

I sometimes sing in the car by myself and feel a lump of sorrow fall out onto my tongue.

I’m genuinely struggling to cope with the responsibility of being human, knowing that simultaneously I am incredibly powerful, and completely powerless.

I hold back tears from you.

I hold back laughter too.

Sometimes I choose my own laziness over compassion.

I hesitate out of fear and trap you in who you think you are.

I yearn to say it all, to let it all flow out and to hell with the consequences. I hold myself back.

There are some though, that fall ready, like morning dew onto a soil quivering with anticipation, and need no pushing. Listen to the sound they make as they fall:

I am in love.
I am here.
I am that.
I am breathing.

Come, be washed of your sin:

“The only true place, the place to begin, is by reeling this liar in.”



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  1. brickbob

    ‘Wonderful emotive language,and just what is needed right now.””””

  2. Phil

    Great writing, thanks for sharing. I have come to expect nothing of truth or substance from this government – I’m finished with them and with their motley parliament.

    The future lies in our own hands and for me that means metaphorically walking away since Abbott’s only way is for us to be the victims of circumstance.

    The prime minister is a coward.

  3. ianmac

    O.M.G. the human condition.. The now, pah wow… Well put, Rob… Zeitgeist and the now and where are we.. ? You well describe a view and a witnessing of the modern citizen in a utopian disaster. Cataclysmic reward meets ‘she’ll be right mate!’
    and what’s this next one coming about ‘education’ and ‘who needs history and geography taught as a proper subject in schools anyway’ !?
    Well it seems that the writing is on the wall and the ‘proles’ have eyes averted…
    The two party system is working very well for the two parties eh?..
    Big cheers to all. 😉

  4. ianmac

    P.s. got huge blind faith in human nature, but pollies?.. me? cynical?
    Ha Ha

  5. Adrianne Haddow

    Powerful writing, Rob. You have just summed up , so eloquently, what my marginally employed, often times unemployed son says.

    We must find a way to rise up against the pigs. Their greed astounds me, all the time chanting gross national product. Selling out our people and our country, preaching austerity, all the while with their snouts in the trough of our hard earned public purse.

    This is why our youth suffer from depression, apathy and are heart sick. They see no future, so live for the day, and are condemned by the rest of society for their hopelessness.

  6. Rob Marsh

    Thankyou all for your support and feedback, it’s well received 🙂

    I wrote this in the spirit of, “the greater the awareness, the deeper the soul.”

    I think it’s important for us not only to recognise the violence, deceit, the anger, the pain in others, in our elected leaders, but also in our selves. We all have the capacity to inflict suffering on our environment, to murder, to rape, to fight, to abuse.

    In a way, it all starts right here, with each of us, in this moment, individually. If we want to slow or stop the violence, the sickness in our society, we must honestly see it within ourselves, own it, be with it, listen to it. Then, our actions will have behind them the weight of truth, of self-knowledge, and be all the more conducive to bringing about the type of world we all want to live in.

  7. Rob Marsh

    The shift in the second half of the poem is to highlight this, that we spend so much time externalising our frustration, our anger, our deceit, seeing it in everyone else from warlords in Darfur to the guy at the checkout, and we rarely take an honest look at the process unfolding within our own psyche.

    So really it’s a call to find those spaces within each of us, to be brave and look where we so rarely shine the light of awareness, and to meet it knowing that its not only completely safe to do so, but that it grows a healthy soul.



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