Chris Jansen : If You Want to Know the Truth : Poetry : May 2019

from dead mule archives

Southern Legitimacy Statement: Chris Jansen is a former heroin addict. He lives in Athens, Georgia, where he teaches fitness boxing and cares for a disinterested guinea pig named Poozybear.

If You Want to Know the Truth

If You Want to Know the Truth
God lied.
It was the serpent
who was practicing
rigorous honesty.
Of course, Eve was a blonde.
Heaven’s reflection was in her eyes,
and the apple was nothing
compared to her cherry lips.
But when He got jealous
and kicked them out
it had very little to do with
genital shame, or even death,
which for them
would have been
a kind of blessing.
The real curse was nakedness
itself; to realize
that in the wilderness
outside the prison walls of the Garden,
you would be forever naked –
which is to say
that there was nothing
you could ever put
between your body
and the world
that could keep you
from getting hurt.


Somewhere between Nordstrom Rack
and Target,
Facebook is trying to get me hooked on WISH.
Turns out you can buy anything from China:
Pet stroller, tactical folding knife,
mastectomy bra, custom suits.
“Men’s fashion wig.”
A pen that conceals a knife.

Through the long American night
the factories of China never stop
pumping out pacifiers and butt plugs.
Meanwhile I sip Arabica in bed.
Pecking away on Messenger
with my ultra-evolved thumbs,
I can lie at 60 WPM. I know
just how much affection to give
and how much to withhold
to keep the love I want coming.
Oh God. Don’t look now but
WISH is back.
I scroll through, helpless,
swiping on cheap shit
that will take weeks
and never looks like the picture.
You can buy anything from China,
4k ULTRA HD camera.
Surround sound.
Wedding ring
Silicone breasts.
“Male enhancement.”
They say you can even get a liver
or a kidney
or a lightly-used cornea.
Whatever you can afford.
They say someday soon
even a human heart.


Yes You Are
But how would you like to be a dog instead?
To eat and sleep and run and play.
To get excited for a walk.
To have strangers want to pet you,
to have them say “Oh you’re so cute.”
To be so beloved that your faults
become charming:
laziness, gluttony; even
your libidinous advances
tolerated, forgiven.
“He must be smelling my dog…”
To have a vocabulary of five words:
treat, sit, stay, speak, leash.

It would mean no more worries,
no more money,
no more dope,
no more dying,
no more women,
no more poems.
You wouldn’t even know what a 401k was.
And it would mean no regrets,
no failures,
no sins to speak of,
and no memories,
except the smell
of that master
who held you close with one hand
while beating you savagely with the other
for something you didn’t know you did.
having considered this
carefully, tell me:
Who’s a good boy?