POEM LXXIII: “CHARLES NELSON REILLY”

At age thirteen, he walked out of a circus inferno.
Things only got weirder from there.

When you deliver the truth slant
everyone thinks you’re joking.

So sure, he was an opera singer.
(Darling.)
He made training videos for the Coast Guard.
(He has the uniform and everything, sooo many medals.)
He works on Broadway and doesn’t ever sit in audiences.
(The view is so much better from the back, don’t you know.)

“I never hid who I was,” he said,
and that was true;
he sat in plain view,
upper right-hand corner,
openly fucking with us,
and nobody said a word,
because a slantwise truth
makes its teller invincible.

So who’s to say he can’t eat coal and shit diamonds?

Stranger things have happened
in his lifetime.

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