An Old Poem about Masks and Intimacy

I have been looking through old manuscripts. I don’t believe how many I have! You probably have too. At any rate, I have decided to post  some of my old (very old) poems here. They are from the 80s when we lived in Los Angeles. In case you are wondering, the “I” in each is a character, not me.  They are fiction. You, as a fellow author, know how these “people” take form from words and images. That is the greatest delight in writing.

The title of this particular poem is “Mask.” We all have many of them, each suited to a different occasion. They are our most important social accessories, but sometimes, they come off.


Eva Gonzalès - An actress with a mask


The face of my fear bares

broken spaces, primitive

patterns for appearances

before fire.  It throbs

in shadows, patterning

memory and hope.  You lift

it off like cured plaster:

It pulls.  Cool air washes

my cheeks;  blood-light

floods my lids.  We hang

the casting on a wall

and I see why I stayed

so long on that seductive

shore where death wears

parrot wings and orchids.

Now sweet night slides

through this room

like a river and I ride.

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