Friday, June 24, 2011

Check out this poem from Lee Robinson's book Hearsay (Fordham 2004), lent to me by a poet friend at one of our "poetry lunches" the other day. I love how Robinson takes the common language of trial law (she was an attorney for 20 years) and turns it upside down and inside out, making it new again. It's really terrific.

The Rules of Evidence

What you want to say most
is inadmissible.
Say it anyway.
Say it again.
What they tell you is irrelevant
can’t be denied and will
eventually be heard.
Every question
is a leading question.
Ask it anyway, then expect
what you won’t get.
There is no such thing
as the original
so you’ll have to make do
with a reasonable facsimile.
The history of the world
is hearsay. Hear it.
The whole truth
is unspeakable
and nothing but the truth
is a lie.
I swear this.
My oath is a kiss.
I swear
by everything


I confess I missed this book when it first came out. But I am happy to have been turned on to it by a friend -- sometimes that is the best way to "discover" a new voice.

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