Sherman Pearl

ART OF THE DEAL

 

We dress poor,

in shabby lies with holes that let

our innocence show.

 

His lies glitter on his cuffs,

shine his nails, dangle from his neck

like a golden goose.

 

He lies “Good morning”.

We lie about the weather.

The handshakes lie firmly.

 

Cars lie everywhere

giving false names, deceptive looks –

polished liars all.

 

One with honest appearance

winks its lying lights. He paints it

with pictures of rides through heaven.

 

He points out the chromium lies,

praises the overdrive lies,

croons the horsepower lies.

 

He lies himself into poetry,

makes cars out of words. His breath

blows blue exhausted smoke.

 

Our lies kick tires,

discover underlying flaws and calculate

how much money lies save.

 

We try the fairness lie, how we’d settle

for bits of integrity.  He outlies us

with pledges of flesh.

 

The lies negotiate. We draw lines

his lies must tiptoe around.

His brow breaks out in lies.

 

Lies breed lies. They accumulate,

tangle themselves like yarn. They choke

on each other, forget what they’d lied about.

 

His bottom line lies. Our last offer lies.

He lies his flexibility. We lie our rigidity.

At last, his concessions lie at our feet.

 

Our lies have won. We drive off

in an unbelievable lie, too cheap and sleek

to be anything but fake.

 

Beside us, smoother lies pull up.

Ahead, bigger lies rush toward better deals.

In the mirror, his smile flashes like truth.