On Bullshit


(with thanks to Harry Frankfurt)


       How do you expect me to know
       I’m talking over you? 

we exist only in response

       We never had that conversation.

to grasp bullshit’s character
forbids the indulgence of impulse 

       I only watched.

but the notion
of carefully wrought bullshit
is truth’s greater enemy 

       You’ve always been possessive.

concocts out of whole cloth
some kind of laxity
in bluffing’s nearness 

       I didn’t touch her. Only
       with my hands. 

quaint equivalents
snuggle the paradigm 

humbug     hokum     buncombe
claptrap     balderdash

       Yes, but
       I was lonely. 

the bullshitter eludes discipline

       If I am talking, it’s because
       I feel safe. 

There are realms replete
with unmitigated bullshit. 

       There’s nothing I can do
       to fix that part of myself. 

our essential nature is elusive

       I’m just a bad boyfriend,
       I guess. 

be true to yourself and resist sincerity

       I wouldn’t know
       if I were talking over you.
       You’d have to tell me.





Zenobia Frost is a Brisbane-based poet whose work has appeared in Overland, Cordite, The Lifted Brow, ARC and Voiceworks. In 2015, an ArtStart grant allowed her to study the contours of confessional writing with Warsan Shire and — in the Black Forest’s University of Freiburg — with Roxane Gay and Adrianne Kalfopoulou.

Image: José Ramón Polo López

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