What's Truth, Anyway?, poetry written by Jen Schneider at Spillwords.com
Alex Shute

What’s Truth, Anyway?

What’s Truth, Anyway?

written by: Jen Schneider


Charlotte asks Wilbur questions grounded in curiosity
and contemplation. powers of three & reality, too.
as silent strangers turned guests & queries of many minds
& multi-layered worry warn & warm, thoughts wander.
from one friend (former foe) to another, syllables flow.
mostly wonderings which sprout from a fundamental figment
of both imagination & fortitude.
What’s a life, anyway is a question
with not one, but many, answers — all of different paths
of sight & sound
both plain & hidden
in treks of dense forest green
& more questions, equally dense
not unlike Forrest Gump’s inquiry
not of forests & trees
that fall as we all do, but of chocolate
& all that is sweet
and Mrs. Gump’s response
in fields of sunflowers
& wounds of salt
What does normal mean, anyway is a question
of not one, but many, answers
& not one, but many, truths

truths of touch both gentle & grand
truths of time neither understood nor welcome
truths of a shared destination & inquiry

neither finite nor fortuitous
one of truth’s
infinite layers
& power
its notion
its nature
its nocturnal tendencies

why does the truth emerge at night,
i recall asking elders
because night knows all
they’d say
as I’d chase
but never catch sleep
under mickey mouse blankets
& artificial starlit skies

i’d catch cold
& curiosity
& wonder

i’d seek answers
in shadow dances on papered walls
& imaginary sheep over picket fences
in dreams of dark nights
& dares of early dawns

what’s truth, anyway
i’d ask
& wait for answers
that would never come

until later
after many elders passed
after many moons rotated
after many cries coughed
& powers of three persisted

over _1_ & _2_
of _2_ & _3_
on _3_ & _1_

for there are infinite truths
& even more infinite perspectives
there of
there in
there with

prepositions tango with propositions
& perspectives paint pictures
of possibility

variations blind
as stars shoot in/of/across
the sky outside
gump’s the upstairs bedroom window
& charlotte’s barn house grate

the universe
truths of time, & temperament.
taste, too

time always _1/2/3__
temperament often _1/2/3_
tastes rarely _1/2/3_

i/we/they ask what’s truth, anyway
& on any day, i/we/they might respond in a particular way & of a particular truth –

truths are tessellations & tantalizations. of blueberry flavored pancakes & buttercream icing. of first floor walk-ups and penthouse suites. of birthday candles & breakroom cigarettes. of lava lamps in living rooms of decades past & dining tables present. of salt on pretzels & pretzel twisted legs of love & language. of oat flour & floured oats. of sardines in cans with mustard. of tuna in cans with oil. of puddles of oil & water with no mixing. of mixes for both baking & becoming. of current events & trends in currency. bit coin. coin operated laundry machines. mechanical days of bits and pieces of moments turned minutes turned memory. in small pockets of air where what is happy blends with what is sad despite a lack of words to describe either. neither poignant nor provocative. simply the present. most truths are nothing more than a particular perspective. like nachos with cheese & cheese with no name. pizza with anchovies & anchovies with attitude. there are two sides & endlessly more flavors to all pancakes/pies/dilemmas & infinitely more truths. yours/mines/theirs/ours. sometimes with points that meet at the intersection of a degree. of both latitude and longitude. other times forever is parallel. in universes where we long to touch but remain in different dimensions. to become one with truth is to love & to lose. to lose layers of onions & ovaries. to lose love of ladies & lads. to lose oneself & then regain __1/2/3__. to strike carrot sticks, batter-soaked spatulas, outs, and pins over pots of boiling water & time. to compare trends and tally the number of bowling pin drops over time. to know that not only frogs croak & that amphibians share ninety percent of the same dna as mammals. to never forget that three strikes are sometimes turkeys. sometimes turnkey locks. Often twisted & turned by turkeys. Pins (persons) drop. pants (layers of skin) sag. gravity pulls. Truth both lingers and taunts. Of infinite combinations, tessellations & tantalizations. Of dew on freshly mowed grass. Of ashes on foreign roots. Of sweet & sour breath. always __ plus ways to identify & reasons to tell (the truth).

truth is one of three & three for one

1. a life (of love)
2. a love (of life)
3. a lucky (piece/day/number)

and three to the power of three (plus infinite) combinations thereof

with time, i’ve learned that what’s normal is rarely known and that what’s truth is rarely tested. each of us owners of truths of private & public predictions and pretenses. each of us our own truth. each of us a version of another’s truth. & another’s desires. of hollywood screens & primetime stations. truths often mirror images of desire. from batman & jokers to bond & matrices, truth taunts. rumors rumble. questions persist.

27 (plus) reasons/ways to identify / reasons to always seek (& tell) — the truth

1. wash regularly. remove all signs of mud (& mildew)
2. dry with care. avoid scuffed skin & unrefined stories
3. retain pride. prune regrets.
4. plan wisely (check pantries & pants for gaps and expiration dates)
5. mitigate forgetting middles (& memories). document (with indelible markers)
6. avoid procrastination. accumulate attitude
7. theorize origins. acknowledge all origins have truths.
8. check all cans for dents (check all calendars for dates)
9. swap dates for raisins (and vitamin D)
10. water has the capacity / properties for a spectrum of temperatures. humans have the capacity for a spectrum of temperments. canines and felines too
11. technology is of turing and turpentine (turmoil) (tepid times)
12. music transports and transforms decades. decadence in the form of hot fudge sauce and pralines heals
13. pharaohs, princes, and chariots roam ballfields and ballrooms. ruins, too
14. conductors reveal arcs of tempo and testimony. truths hide in plain side (and in gingham patchwork quilts) of lyrics, latitude and longitude
15. strangers claim latitudes and companies conceal platitudes
16. musicality unites. unity need not be uniform
17. freedom takes many forms. lack of freedom does as well
18. male deer are called both bucks & stags. female deer defer to doe. binary barriers persist.
19. even the worst of gestures can excite when wrapped in shiny paper & of shiny bows
20. dreams can both doodle/dribble/dabble & demand
21. there’s often another side. of arguments, eggs, pancakes, jail cell walls, eternity
22. home harbors safe havens and unhealthy versions of heaven
23. gentle waves both warm and chill. walking awakens senses and sensibilities
24. a flute can sway moods to degrees that rival a tuba
25. not all suits button and not all suites behave
26. not only the rain comes down in sheets
27. everyone hurts

Jen Schneider

Jen Schneider

Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. She is a Best of the Net nominee, with stories, poems, and essays published in a wide variety of literary and scholarly journals. She is the author of A Collection of Recollections (Next Chapter), Invisible Ink (Toho Pub), On Daily Puzzles: (Un)locking Invisibility and On Crossroads and Fill in the Blank Puzzles (forthcoming, Moonstone Press), and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups (forthcoming, Atmosphere Press).
Jen Schneider

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