If I Were Not Alexander

by Dave Lucas

Dave Lucas

I would be Diogenes. Swing my lamp
through these dishonest days in search.
I myself have looked the known world
over and given everything a new name.
Another word for conquest, search. Yes,
I would be Diogenes, and lie right down
in the slough and filth of truth, if I could
find it, and remember whence I came,
and to what honest dust I shall return.
But I am I instead, and so I do not ask
whether truth is the knot or the sword.
Or, suppose the truth is the truth is just
a sound the tongue makes with the teeth.
It is the clop of hooves before the gates.
You cannot refute a madman, or a cavalry.
Where I read that I no longer remember.
I would be Diogenes, and they would love
me just as they love their starved strays,
but they would not listen. Tell me, Diogenes, 
some other Alexander (but there is no other)
would ask, what is the truth? and he would 
say my name. Or I would say it for him.

Last updated November 20, 2022