Brendan Beary


Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Tautology

Who on earth was the great philosophical wiz
Who invented the saying, “It is what it is”?
We owe him a statue, parades, and a feast!
(We owe him a thing that is owed, at the least.)

I’d love to know context, the whole state of play
That would move anyone to describe It that way:
The when and the where and the why it was said—
Though to muse what It was before then hurts my head!

Now people might say, “Things are not what they seem,”
Or “That’s not what it is,” when they’re caught in a scheme.
(But the truth of things, even when viewed from afar,
Is that nine times in ten, Yes they bloody well are!)

So whatever the “It” is, or will be, or was,
The saying’s efficient; it does what it does!
I just have a question—it’s not a complaint:
Can you name me one something that is what it ain’t?

Brendan Beary lives in Maryland, and spends a little too much time wondering about a few too many things. His works have appeared in Light, Lighten Up Online, 14×14, Calamaro, The Washington Post Style Invitational, and the backs of numerous envelopes that inadvertently get thrown out with the recycling.