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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Day 11, NaPoWriMo: Write a Tanka

Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In nearby orchards

frosted blossoms have withered

pink petals drifting

on a breeze too late to save

their promise of abundance.

Frank Exchange of Views

Here’s a daily poem suggested by the moderator of the NaPoWriMo event here on WordPress. There is a Scottish SF writer, Iain M. Banks, who has unique names for his spacecraft. The challenge today is to write a poem based on one of those names. There is a list in the NaPoWriMo Day 4 post at I liked “Frank Exchange of Views.”



Yesterday, while following

the whirring sound of sandhill

cranes, instead we encountered

a heron rookery in the making

near unlikely roaring traffic

and a slightly stale lake

three pair of birds, as

elegant as prehistoric,

danced past one another

by turns bending to

break branches from 

the teetering tips of

respective cottonwood trees

exchanging views of each

other while we gawked, cameras

in hand, from far below

feeling a little dishonest,

since we would not suffer

observation at such a tender

moment, but unable to 

uneye this timeless art.


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