Excerpts from "The Truth is Told Better This Way" by Liz Worth
I read your tarot cards in New York City.
They concluded that distance makes
the heart grow thunder.
You said you were changing your name to Corpus Christi;
we’d need to
discard the bodies
to make it official.
How else was this supposed to be?
So much buried between us already.
"Gut me," I said.
it was the start of a
just you, me, and a magic marker.
We’d heard the death of stars is
brought on by song.
We thought: grindcore, necrothrash,
a swatch of black shadow and
On all fours we dismembered:
We fell asleep at 6am:
on the floor,
Waking rushed us with
I’d slept with bobbypins
in my hair;
They were now under
your bare feet, between floorboards.
We woke with a
corpse paint vocabulary,
honesty a mask you wore at breakfast.
Under the table, an untangling of the earth.
"Mars moves forward at midnight," you said.
I blanched: What’s left to defy?
The next time anyone saw us, we’d already lost the answer.
I am a wild horse and you?
You are a eulogy, an incantatory apparition
mandated by a recovered memory.
I need you to check my vitals and
draw the number nine on my forehead.
I’ve gone blind.
I need urgency, not justification.
Too tired to remember punctuation,
I’ve been screaming with CAPS LOCK frozen in place.
I am frozen in space and nothing can
warm me now but lamplight and masturbation.
I woke up in a bus station. The first person I saw
walked over to me and asked, "when was the last time you ran
for your life?"
I could not even remember my own secrets.
I could not remember if I’d ever hit someone hard enough to
could not remember a sting in my palm,
could not remember bare feet or broken bones and I said,
I said, "stop, and come in here with me."
"Where are you?"
"Come in here with me."
"What do you want?"
"Come in here with me and pray."
At the neck there’s a squeeze: a sentence is stuck and I need
someone to help get it out.
It’s a risk we have to take.
On your knees. I want you to crawl towards me.
Reach deep to know my constraint.
There’s a hole where so many of my words have fallen into.
Tell me what you see:
Art as a violent action?
Don’t pretend like I don’t know what you disposed of.
I’ve been honest about my apathy
but can you say the same about your healing?
This is not about prestige or luxury. This is about presence--
a condition built from the friction of silence.
Are you going to give it to me, or am I going to have to steal it?
This oath—it’s volcanic.
I would have called but I was
overcome by the order of the universe and
thought it meant something as it
obstructed airflow to the lungs,
put me in a choke hold and held on until I
could only equate Isosceles to Isis.
Fail at math and make your own.
Diminished purity the extent of my intellect.
Visions wasted on wanting.
I wrote my long division on someone’s pillowcase and
caught an infection from the friction.
Only rule I know is the law of attraction to distraction.
I used to go weeks without friends,
every conversation like being carsick,
disclosing the spiritual detail of our lives.
Later all I could ever eat were almonds. I sucked on
fork prongs for iron, ingested defeat.
Precious metals dismantled my
obsessive compulsions. I wanted amulets for eyes.
You should have been here the day I
became a mystic: the noise went through the
I haven’t done much living since, though;
the way I get by is closest to punishment.
I want to tremble, soften, convince myself
a better day is coming.
I would have called but I’ve
been in the bathtub for hours,
waiting to feel real.
I keep expecting a knock:
are you okay in there?
Riding over wet leaves I didn’t want to
lose the daylight so fast. The valley darkens earlier and
the green flash of your Converse is the first to fade.
We found a braid of strawberry blond hair under the bridge.
Further down the creek, the contents of a backpack
thrown across stones.
The sunset is a talon gripping the backs of our necks.
Hurry, hurry. Home is still twenty minutes away.
You imagine you’d smelled arousal among the trees.
The grip of the handlebar was still imprinted in my palms.
A ridge of urgency.
You slept in my bed that night. The moon hung in the window.
We didn’t tell anyone.
It was a dream, we decided in the morning.
Someone else’s secret to dispel.
"Pulling from raw themes of grief and death, regret and discomfort, sadness and failure, Worth wears these poems down to their bones. Straddling dreamy, ethereal images and brutal honesty, The Truth is Told Better This Way unravels its secrets one line at a time. The result is oracular and surreal, as each piece could be read as a magic spell that mesmerizes as much as a poem that tantalizes the senses."
You can purchase your own copy at BookThug Publishing.
Liz Worth is an author, tarot reader, and astrologer. Poet dalton derkson described Liz's newest book, The Truth is Told Better This Way, as "a witch's brew of the most poetic magicks." Liz is the author of six books altogether, and her writing on tarot and astrology has appeared in Little Red Tarot, Flare Magazine, Biddy Tarot, and more. Learn more about her at lizworth.com.