we're naked
     just like the emperor
     just like the prophet
     just like the priest 
          and the poet 
               and the philosopher
                    and all the other pests
naked now
     as we were on day one
just as naked
     both now and then
as the emperor
     both now and then too
     and believing things
          we don't really believe
     like what this emperor says
          or what the emperor before him
               this one's opposite
fooling ourselves with convictions
     about one thing or its opposite
all playing along
     that either one
          either emperor's ensemble
doesn't leave us naked
     and even if it was real
          either ensemble
               would be so mismatched
as to look like shit
     so instead of seeing
          we are naked
               or, at least
                    pathetically mismatched
we divide
     and delude ourselves in our divisions
that even if real
     A's ensemble
          is far more coordinated
               far more fashionable
                    far more moral
                         far more righteous
     than Z's
of all the things that matter
     which gods
          or no god
the supernatural
     or corporeal
to give 
     or not to give
          and how
                    and when
cause allegiance
     to one emperor or another
          feels better than
               being naked
                     with no allegiance
                          with no fellow conformers
                               and no fellow confirmers
that your emperor's style of nakedness
     is best
believing we are clothed
     protected from the elements
          and each other
all the while knowing
     that it's not the mirror that lies
          it's all of us
               them and you
                   and not a fraction
                        but all
                             in one way or another
except that child
     that declares
          we are all naked
then told to shut up
     and just pretend too
          for it's not just the emperor's nakedness
               the child exposes
                    it's everyone's nakedness
except for the single article
     the ring or bracelet
          a real thing
               that most can agree
                    is either silver or gold
a confirmation to both
     that everything's real
          including the delusion
               of any other
                    seeing it as silver
                         rather than gold
and arguing which is best
     accessories and accouterments 
          silver or gold
               or even platinum
                    or something else
                         equally distracting
     in their insistence upon  
          reason over emotion
               emotion over reason
                    freedom and order
                    order and freedom
                         defense or offense
                              fight or forgive
                                   finality or infinity
mostly temperament
     or conditioning
          or fear
               we're loath to admit
                    that keeps us from seeing any emperor
                         and ourselves
                              as scared 
                                   and so impure
                                        in our nudity
     our natural state?
          the state of nature?          
or the state of the beast
     and savage?
without all the garments
     of the emperor
          and our
                    mimicking ensembles
                         we are mere primitives
so we must believe
     the emperor and we
          are fully clothed
               and the others naked
until the next emperor
     or priest
          or shaman
               or philosopher
                    or artist
comes along
     and we switch sides
from offense to defense
     in the game of mutual delusion
          so as not to catch
                a glimpse
                     of our own nakedness
                              and forever
offending or defending
     crying and babbling
          or praying
               in need of new cloths
                    clothing of true inhibition
                         instead of the the liquid courage
               of the emperor's new style
                    or the fashions of
                         the prophet
                                        or philosopher
we need
     brand new clothes
          cut from our own cloth
               and held together
                    with our own stitches
                         and seams
or else
     to finally admit
          there are no clothes
               at all

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