The Masks We Wear

Poem By gordon coombes

searching for a mask to wear
trying on one identity or another
where is my true face you ask
& I wonder about it
for awhile til I realize
it is forever changing
from day to day
no longer am I
who you believed I was
no longer am I
who I believed I was
lost for a time in some role I played
I see a stranger in the mirror
is that who you see
what then do you see?

what mask do you see
an aging recluse
a lazy indifferent fool
a shrivelled up celibate monk
a Don Juan passed his prime
a no talent poet
a witless philosopher
a true phrophet & metaphysician
a pot head in need
of a nightly bed-time toke
scribbling cliches late into the night
in the grips of 3am blues
stumbling over the profound
digging down into my depths
finding emptiness & silence
& nothing more & nothing less
filling me with fear
regretting all of it
regretting everything
je tout regrette-


filling my head
with the voices of others
of the bards & troubadors of old
of philosophers & poets
their voices speaking chanting
& singing swirl around
inside the jumble jar
mixed in with fragments of memory
strange stray wild thoughts
which might be my own
unable to disentangle them-

finding myself inside Plato's cave
confused by the shadows on the walls
on a street corner in ancient Athens arguing
with Socrates about ethics & the essence
of the universe sitting throughout a night
& a day with the Buddha beneath
the sacred Bodhi tree dancing wildly
in elysian fields with Lord Krishna
sharing a pipe of tobacco in a humble
hovel with Thoreau beside Walden pond
sharing a ride across America with Kerouac
riding the rails with Woody Guthrie
through the Dust Bowl into the rich green
valleys of California assisting Walt Whitman
as he tends those wounded in some
Civil War battle watching frivolous thoughts
pass through my mind as I spend a day
lazing about on a river bank beside Lao Tsu
fishing for enlightenment
walking along the streets of Dublin
visiting various bars with my companion
overly intellectualized James Joyce-

furniture & decorations
for the mind
what gains a home there
what is temporary
heard seen felt
then we move on
putting some things in storage
others we sell in a yardsale
all cash offers accepted-

Comments about The Masks We Wear

An interesting poem. I enjoyed the journey.


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