Truth? You Can't Handle The Truth

By John W. Fountain

So if I tell you my truth
And it tickles your ears
Relieves you of any guilt
Makes your consciences feel clear
Fills you with self-righteous indignation
Makes you point the finger
(Not over there)
But over here
Compels you to cheer:
“Preach, Brother Fountain…
Tell YOUR people the truth
They don't need Jesse or Al
They need to listen to YOU…”

But then,
I flip the coin
And speak my whole mind
Say what it’s like to live in my black skin
Then you claim I’ve lost my mind
YOU say you no longer “respect” me
Tell me to ‘take a hike’
Write to me with condescending paternalistic insults
Try and tell me what I should write
Call me “conceited”
A pompous "N" word, riding arrogantly on my “high horse”
Say I must not be who you thought I was…
Not a “good Negro” who knows his place,
But, of course

I shake my head
Chuckle at how racism makes some blind
How after centuries and centuries
The most dangerous black man is still an educated one
Who articulately speaks his mind…
How Truth is still a mighty double-edged sword
To be rejected by ignorance
When Truth offends the status quo
And dissonant chords sound absurd

And yet, I play on
I beat my drum
Whether YOU hear me or not
Spitting facts to fight the fiction
About the history that has brought
My people to our current condition
The hard truths that can help us transition
To a position
Of equality
Rather than brutality
Even amid the reality
That YOU can’t handle the truth

For to look Truth squarely in the eyes
You’d have no recourse but to realize
YOU had a hand in our demise

For in Truth
There is no room for lies
Even if a part of the truth tickles your ears
Only makes your consciences feel clear
Makes you only point the finger over here
But to the whole truth
You turn a deaf ear
So I’ll play on
And frankly my dear

I don't give a damn if YOU hear