Be skeptical when you hear stories about derring-do.
Remember the red herring story’s a red herring, too.
Someone named Cobbett in England in 1805 bent
our ears with the tale that by rubbing red herring scent
over the trail in a hunt as a boy he’d distract all the dogs
from the scent they were tracking: red herring stink fogs
the olfactory sense in a canine’s prodigious capacity
to pick up smell: but Cobbett’s claim had the veracity
of all the bloody hell you’d told your brother you’d done
on the weekend, the awful spectacular transgressive fun
with which you were determined to shock: that you’d
kidnapped a nun but you couldn’t reveal all the lewd
and astounding particulars you had pursued after that
with the sister: no, not with the virtuous cad Pastor Blatt
always ‘round, with his nose to the ground, seeking evil
to fuel his next sermon in lurid detail and medieval
morality for which he’d long been egregiously famed,
packing in every illicit detail, with every perp named!
And that’s when your brother said, “Look to the skies
at the moon. Is it a red herring?” This scattered your lies
into chaos, somehow: strewn like confetti into the cold
emptiness of your interior, your old assertions, once bold,
were so feebly inferior you barely knew that the moon died
that night. Nothing could be understood or identified
with any proof, wrong or right. This shot through the dawn
of your consciousness, gun through a roof: you were gone.
You now knew eternal existence proceeds beyond breath.
Being is nothing at all. It’s a lovely experience, death.