Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top Secret










(image of Spy vs. Spy, from Mad Magazine)





Top Secret


How does a secret reach the top?
Also--the top of what? I think
of secrets that never reach the peak.
They remain in huts on a slope,
run out of provisions, succumb
to despair and gravity, and stumble
toward a village of common knowledge
where they are nobody special.

What percentage of secrets deemed
Top should a government share
with everyone? Answer: always
a greater percentage than the
government claims. Incidentally,
who manufactures the stamps
that spell TOP SECRET? Is
this information secret?

I might have made a semi-
excellent spy because I tend
to forget secrets people tell me.
The safest place to keep a secret
is one you can't find again. If
someone needs the secret,
the situation may seem awkward.

I know there are good reasons
to keep secrets, but not as many
as the bad reasons. Information
isn't power. Power is Power. It
keeps secrets chiefly because
It can. Because It will. Sometimes

when I stood next to an alpine
creek, fast water would arrange
itself just so, so it became like
a liquid lens with no distortion.
The complex beauty of the creek's
multicolored, gravelly basis, with
bits of debris and a trout's dark
back, struck apprehension clearly.
Transparency's a transfusion.


Hans Ostrom Copyright 2008 Hans Ostrom
Post a Comment