Truthrn(A Political Analysis)rnbv Richard Moorern”What’s truth?” asked Pontius Pilate,rnever prepared to revile it,rn”What’s truth, you tramps and hags?”rn”I know!”rnsaid the vvino,rnhung with wretched rags.rn”Truth is many-gowned.rnShe dresses for our sakes. . .rnbut it’s booze what makesrnthe world go ’round.rnJust look—look hard il” you dare.rnContinents here and therernsoaking and eroding,rnvolcanoes belching, exploding . . .rnbut mostly it’s under covers—rnoceans like gushy lovers—rnmostly the earth’s all wet.rnWhat’s it want then? To forgetlrnIss’ jus’ like mc an’ Vivian.rnAll we want’s oblivion.”rnBut here, rolling eyes aloft,rnone stood, politely coughed—rnso elegant, so correct!—rnand thus, commanding respectrnand silence from every manrnand woman there, began:rn”1 report to you, friends, that we—rnthat is, my colleagues and me . . .”rnThe crowd heard Pilate cry,rn”You mean, my colleagues and I!rnIf vou’re going to whine and vammer,rndo it with decent granmiar!”rn”My friends, my true associates,rnallied to mc in their fates…”rn”They lied to you?” Pilate inquired,rn”Those friends you probably hired—rnwhat kind of friends were those?rnYou talk too fancy. Speak prose!”rn”My colleagues formed a committeernof the best minds in the City,rnexperts, fortune-gainers,rnnationwide entertainers—rnall those by whom truths arc uttered.’^rn”Boobs, jackals,” Pilate muttered.rn”After meetings around the Nation,rnten vears’ deliberationrnat many a posh resort,rnthough official neglect,rncried Pilate.rn”Make it short!’rn”Well, then—raisingrnno questions about the phrasingrnand creating the false impressionrnof a shallow, debate-free sessionrnwe all in due course agreedrnthat Truth is much in need.”rn”That all?” Pilate asked, “—in ten years?”rn”O no! We resolved amid cheers—rnecstatic that, cleverly gleaningrnour dictum’s ulterior meaning—rnthat the duty should fall on us—rnresolved—such claps—thunderous!—rnthat I’ruth needs a father-confessorrnto toilet-train and dress her.”rnA mechanic stood up in rage.rn”This jerk thinks he’s a sage.rnBan him from the City!rnHe’s telling us Truth is sh—y.”rnPilate breathed, “I low 1 love these greasies!rnGive them a whiff of feces,rnand they’ll outshout any crowd.”rn”My friend,” he said aloud,rn”thanks for your thoughtful words,rnthat lav bare these, these . . .”rn”T-s!”rn”. . . let’s call them stagnant poolsrnin the morass of our schools.rnBut we’ll keep them among us, I think—rnso we won’t forget how thev stink”rn”And so you’ll smell nice by comparisonrnand stay in control of the garrison,”rnshouted the happy mechanic—rnwho’d become, Pilate saw, too manic.rnSo the police appeared,rnand as the crowd had feared,rndoctors put him in chainsrn(and, a month later, beat out his brains).rnAnd the crowd, with his strangled cursernin their ears, began to disperse,rnand Pilate, too, strode from the scene.rnThe drunks remained on the green.rnMAY 1993/33rnrnrn