Diogenes by Any Other Name
The most honest
man I ever met was neither
a man of God nor
high priest of Satan,
for both deal in the same
denomination of coin.
They just rub opposite sides for
No man holds a candle to the one I
met in a Third Avenue bar.
He answered all my nosy questions
with complete honesty.
He replied that he was a retired
now turned wandering con artist,
the best on the East Coast.
I then asked the obvious question.
He answered that the very best in the
worked the West Coast,
but was a pathological liar.
I laughed, and he knew that I’d
then he laughed.
Soon we were backslapping buddies.
He bought me drinks saying it was his
Later, he excused himself and left
for the john,
then excused himself from the rest of
My pocket, of course, had been
He had been treating me with my own
which must have been quite a treat
especially with about fifty bucks
left in my wallet.
Before he left he said his favorite
“Take the Money and Run.”
There never was a man more honest,
for who could describe himself so
and part company with a better
The rest of us fill our conversations
with euphemisms and pretentious
for that night I called my
self-pitying self a victim
rather than the frank name of sucker.
© 2002 Richard Fein
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