Beware the Deceiver

beware the righteously
          indignant
                in all his stripes
                            bold or meek
                                king or cobbler
                     who castigates
                over politics
                     race
                     religion
                     or castigates us
                          for being what we are
                                which is 
                          necessarily
                                flawed and imperfect
perhaps
the greatest achievement
          of the deceiver
               is deceiving himself
          in believing
               heart and soul
          that he is
               what he is not
into believing he is righteous
                    and wise
           and mostly
               brave
               without jealousy
               or spite
               or envy
                   or merely enlightened enough
                      to see the horror and consequences
                                of our sins
                                       in all of us
                             sins we're too weak
                                     he believes
                                  to confront
                                      accept and
                                          reject
                                       as he has

beware
for the deceiver hates his sins
not because they're sinful
but because they make him
like all other men
     so he curses those sins
     to himself and all of us
             to show us
                 he is different
                      for rejecting himself
                         and not being satisfied
                             by what God 
                                  or nature
                                      made him

he creates an image
                     an illusion
                         of himself
                             to himself
                           to escape himself
                                  first
                before casting that illusion
                      into the world
as an example
     we should admire
         if we are righteous 
                          and courageous too
          
but his illusion
    as any illusion
is nothing to be admired
    for belief in illusions
        is idiocy
             at best
        and madness
             at its worst
                     
the fool
    or the madman
seduces himself
     to believe the illusion
         and to challenge the illusion
            is to challenge any other 
                securely held belief
                     that comforts 
                              us through life
                         giving us meaning
                                  and direction
                                      and answers
                             like beliefs in fire gods
                                      yomagn'tho 
                                      spells 
                                      nirvana
                                      the afterlife
                                  or any of the others
so
do not challenge his belief
      of himself
           as the noble shepherd
               owning or
                  offering better judgement
                     or guidance
                        to our fellow man
                           than the common 
                              shepherd
or he'll merely beguile you with more deceit
   with more proclamations
     of his mighty
          though imperfect righteousness
       proclamations
            nothing more
                than trying to convince you
                     in the same way
                            of convincing himself
                                 that he's not
                                      deceived
                                          but righteous

do not be deceived by the proclamations
        of his own imperfections
                   for it is false modesty
rather
        beware that he proclaims at all
                 especially when it comes
                      to proclaiming what he is
be aware
    very aware
    because
the deceiver is crafty
      knowing that you deceive too
              necessarily because you are human
                        like him
                            in his corporeal form
so your sins
      are the same as his
            you are one and the same
                   both flawed
                        he says
                   as sinners
                        all the while
            failing to mutter
                 much less proclaim
                        that sin occurs by degree
that no one is perfect
            and the sin of your fib
                          though nothing to celebrate
                    is far less severe than the ten thousand
                          lies
                              he's told himself

beware when he tells you
     that you have too much pride
             to listen only to yourself
                  instead of him
                     and that you should be ashamed
                          at having so much pride

beware when he shames you
     with your flaws
         to make you feel small 
                      and weak
           to question yourself
              and make you want to be better
                 than having flaws
                   by being more like
                        his illusion of himself
beware
    for your desire
         to mimic his illusion
               is the validation he needs
                     to keep it intact
                            
  beware
         when you catch the deceiver
               beware 
         of his reminder
               of the sin of judgement
               beware
               that without judgement
               the deceiver deceives
                     rampantly
                     wantonly 
               which is his greatest joy
               his greatest victory
               along with deceiving himself
                      to live in illusion
                          instead of the world
                               we all know
                                  to be true

beware the deceiver                 
for he is everywhere
                 without horns or hooves
                 or fire
                 or brimstone
beware the deceiver for he is subtle
     a true believer
     an apostle of his deceits
                 beware the priest
                     the poet
                     the pundit 
          in the pulpit
          on the ballot
be aware of the stealthier ones
                  perhaps even worse
          on a bar stool or on a bus
                 or outside in the heat laying pavement
             dying inside
                 to give you answers
                   always
                       to why
                       to how 
                          you
                            should be
                                more like 
                                        him 
 
beware the righteously
       indignant
          for his disdain
               can be crass
               or coy 
               or effete 
                     beware
                          his disdain is not of sin
                              but of himself
                          and of us too
                              as sinners
                                 as the imperfect beings             
                                     that we necessarily
                                             are
                          
beware the deceiver
       he is in all of us
                be aware
                    he is cunning
                be aware
                    and take care to expel him
                              and repel him
                         both inside and out
                         whenever 
                             and whenever 
                                 you can

beware the deceiver
for those who embrace
        their deceivers
             their illusions
                  their reality
are not even 
         themselves
               anymore 

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