The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

The Art of Tetman Callis header image 2


May 18th, 2023 · No Comments

as a paralegal, there are things i
cannot say. i must be circumspect,
deferential, polite. this is unfortunate.
these days, there is a shortage of truth-telling
in this world. my guess is there is no
shortage of truth itself; probably as
much of that as there has ever been.
a lot of it is dammed-up, though, high up
in the mountains, in cold, clear pools, limpid
if somewhat acrid—
oh, hell. pools of truth,
indeed. here’s a muddy puddle: as a
paralegal, i cannot safely tell
my boss the lawyer not to interrupt
me while i write a poem. he pays me
to pay attention (and answer telephones,
fetch the mail, and so forth). he also pays
my health insurance premiums, which are
steep. and he pays me not to tell the truth
without permission, if even then.

a fellow telephoned the office this
morning, asked to speak to my boss. that is
not possible
, i told the fellow.
i told him i was the only one
available. the connection sounded
as though he were calling from outdoors.
i could hear street noise in the background;
loud voices. he quickly got to his point:
i want to know if i can sue a
restaurant for discrimination
because they wouldn’t serve me a glass
of water for free
. succinct, my caller.

there were at least two possible answers
i could provide; one was better for him,
the other was better for me. the answer
better for him was, this is america,
you can sue whoever you like, just don’t
expect to win. and don’t be such a fool–
a restaurant is a business.
you want a free glass of water, go home
and ask your mama
. the answer better
for me was the one i gave, or started
to: i’m sorry, but– he hung up right
after i’m sorry. and i am. i can
truthfully, politely, and with great
circumspection say that i am. it
was never my intention to earn
my living maintaining a dam.

(Copyright 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

Tags: Poems

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