Posts Tagged ‘mask’

On Halloween

I wake up as myself, but by 8:15 a.m.,
I am wearing a long black dress and long black gloves,
strings of pearls and my long brown hair piled high.
Once again, I am Holly Golightly, spontaneous and flirty,
eccentric and ambitious. How easily I slip into her world.
How quickly I start calling everyone darling.
How instantly I feel doe-eyed and feminine.
Though I am graying. Though I am no longer reed-like
or innocent. Though in real life I only wear yoga pants
and no one would call me glamorous.
How is it that forty years after I first met her
in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I still fall in love with her?
Confident, yet fragile. Elegant, yet humble.
I balance my long black cigarette holder in my hand
and take a long drag of the fake cigarette—
but it’s life I’m pulling deep into my lungs
getting buzzed on blue sky and white snow.
By noon, I have no idea who I am.
By midnight, though I am in yoga pants again,
the credits have yet to roll.

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I had worn it so long, that mask,

I didn’t notice it no longer fit.

In fact, I didn’t notice I wore it at all.

Every day I woke up wearing the mask.

I wore it all day, then returned to bed wearing

the mask. I don’t even remember putting it on,

what, was it as a child? Slowly, we come

to take habit as truth. Besides, on the outside,

it was pretty enough. Placid and happy.

It was only today I noticed how on the inside,

the mask had hair of snakes, how I was being

surely turned to stone. I did not want

to break the mask. I did not know

what the face beneath it might be.

I was afraid to not like what I saw.

There is a call to be ruthless, our hands

rising to do what must be done,

though some voice we thought

was our own shouts at us to stop.

And there is another voice. Perhaps

you’ve heard it, too. I notice

it’s easier to hear it when the mask

isn’t covering my ears. It’s strange

today to walk down the street.

I don’t know what I might say.

I don’t know what I might do.

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One Beat

it off.
The hat.
The jeans.
The shoes.
The shirt.
The missing
Take off
the watch.
Let down
the hair.
the public
the eyes.
Let slip
the beaded
of shoulds,
the tired
of worry.
of shame
that still
thin gloss
of why,
lose them.
now my
love, please
touch me
we put
it all

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A tiny screw,
a tiny screw
beneath the butts
and cheat grass stems
and fallen in
between the rocks,
a tiny screw,
a tiny screw,
you almost missed it,
didn’t you, and what
did it hold together?
The sharp end broken,
useless now. Was
it mine? How
many lives does it
take to unscrew the
light? We are all
falling apart. In our wake,
we leave hundreds,
thousands of invisible
screws—in our lawns,
in our beds, between
our car seats, in thin
alleys, on stages,
beneath the fridge.
We are all trying
to pretend we can hold it
together. Next time, maybe
you’ll notice them,
not the millions of screws
we’re constantly stepping over, but
these holes that get harder
to hide from ourselves,
from each other.

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Even while she is singing,
her mask comes off—the cheeks,
the brow, the lips still moving

even after they’ve been discarded
on the tray beside the brown hair.
Beneath that face, another face.

Its lips sing the same quiet song.
The mirror is not surprised.
Into the new face, the scalpel slips

and the next layer pulls away.
Eyebrows, nose bridge, chin, jaw.
And the lips keep singing

as they away they fall.
The woman is no less herself.
She is not who she thought

she was. She is being sung.
The mirror lets slip
the passing layers.

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with one hand
I wave for you
to see me
with the other
I retie my mask

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