Daily Archives: March 31, 2007

The Truth about Monsters

This is a wonderful poem from Patrick O’Leary. Makes you think. Thanks to Derryl Murphy, fellow SF Canada author, for pointing me to it.

The Truth about Monsters

I have never seen a unicorn
and neither have you
so shut the fuck up.

I have never been chased by a zombie,
bitten by a vampire, or fled from a werewolf,
and neither have you
so shut the fuck up.

When people die? They’re dead.
They are not undead.
They are dead dead.
They do not walk the night;
They rot and become mulch.

You know why you’ve never seen a ghost
and I’ve never seen a ghost?
That’s right: There are no ghosts.
So shut the fuck up.

If you are 25 million years old
you may have seen a dinosaur
but you’re not and you didn’t
so shut the fuck up.

Now let’s talk about dragons.
Creatures who breathe fire
are barbecue. End of story.

Start of truth.
There are indeed monsters in this world.
And, yes, we have all seen them.
But, really, if you want to talk about monsters
do you really need the scales and the fangs?

Talk about moms and dads,
aunts and uncles,
who have broken the innocence of children,
who create facsimiles of their monstrous selves,
delayed detonations which explode years later.

Talk about the tall tales we tell ourselves
about those dark strangers
who strangle miniature beauty queens,
who lie in wait, always out there,
in the woods, on the web,
dark strangers who wait anywhere
but under our roofs,
wait to tuck us in, anywhere but here,
anywhere but home.

The truth is there’s only one way to kill a monster.
You tell it the truth.

You do not say, “Now just a moment.
I understand the war on terror
is a global commitment requiring great sacrifice
and significant resources–more resources, in fact,
than we spend on children, health care, education and the poor,
but let us explore the nuances.”

No.
No.
No.
You say “You, Sir, are a lying sack of shit.
Now shut the fuck up.”

And sometimes, you must resort to caprice. For sometimes
the only way to tell the truth to a monster
is to disguise it in a form it recognizes
but does not identify with.
You call it a zombie, a vampire, a werewolf or a dragon.
And you wake up every morning,
look in the mirror and check for tails, scales and fangs.
And when you tilt your head back to gargle
you watch for sparks.

Patrick O’Leary

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