Wednesday, April 16, 2014





frightening are masks

entertaining and often essential

gilded with care and

diverse starlight and atoms

compress empathy into mass

their birth, to tell you

things you like and

cowering model reluctantly





model cowering and like you

things you tell to

birth their mass into empathy

compress atoms and starlight diverse

and care with gilded essential often

and entertaining


masks are frightening



NaPoWriMo Day 16: a palindrome – Since this week is palindrome week here in the USA (Our M/DD/YY format is exactly the same frontwards and backwards, example: 4-16-14) I decided to try my hand at this form. I’ve only written three poems using this form, and two of them are in my self-published poetry collection. This one feels a bit loose and sloppy, but it was on my mind so I went with it.

I declined to participate in this week’s dVerse Poetics – The Photography of Phyllis Galembo because I found the photographs of the masks a bit too unnerving to stare at for inspiration (plus I now have time-constraints every Tuesday night). I declined to participate in NaPoWriMo’s prompt to write a ten-line poem in which each line is a lie because I felt it would contradict my vow to never lie to my readers.

But the more I thought about masks and lying, the more I realized that I wear masks and lie to people Every. Single. Day. And mostly for good reason; my version of the truth would most likely make several very kind, but unfathomably stupid people weep bitter tears of sadness at their sudden self-awareness, and ultimately get me fired from the 9-to-5 that helps pay my mortgage and puts the kids through school. So no question; I have to wear a mask while at work.

I also wear different masks and tell different lies as social situations warrant, but not because I think my friends are dumb. On the contrary; I think my friends are very smart and interesting, but if I show them the real me, I fear that I will be exposed for the weirdo that I am (even though I show my true colors as a weirdo by sprinting home to my safe place each day as quickly as humanly possible). So when I’m out and about, I wear a mask.

I am at my most relaxed state when I’m home alone, on the internet, or with my immediate family. Only within these moments do I not force myself into a constricting mask.

With all that in mind, I poured myself some bourbon, took off my mask, and spilled this poem (and this confession) all over my desktop.

(You guys aren’t charging me for this therapy session, are you? If so, we’ll have to setup a payment plan.)


  1. i come pretty cheep as a therapist...i can just bill medicaid any way....not that they will ever pay me...ha

    we do all wear masks...its in who we choose to portray. because being real can be scary. because then people have to choose us. and if they dont like that, what is the honesty man...i hear you

  2. Palindromes are so challenging! I like yours. And confession is supposed to be good for the soul, right? I am going to be thinking about personas and masks and lies for the rest of the week now.

  3. Your confession is not unusual. A lot of theatricality is required to pass oneself off as a team player to retain employment in order to survive. How lucky we are to be able to write and express what we feel through verse. That Napowrimo prompt about telling lies was extremely twisted I thought. I did not do it either.
    Your palindromes are good. I don'
    t like palindromes..there is something unsettling about them:)