Saturday, August 27, 2005

imitation of life

today I am invisible.
at first I didn't notice it,
then, at the library, I see a person to I am invisible to,
daily on my train commute.
"Hi, don't I know you from the train?" never came out of my mouth
because I still wasn't there.

invisible, because there is no reason to notice,
because in real life, I'm in the background
with the buildings, and the grass and the trees.
not the correct size, shape, age, color for the moment.

sometimes I'm a phantom, coming in and out of focus...
reminds me of an old video by Sting;
"If You Love Somebody",
Marsalis is practically invisible all the time.
he only comes into focus when he plays his sweet sax.

at the dollar store, I become briefly opaque at the check out.
"Hi, how are you today?" asks the check out girl
(appears slightly see-through)
"Fine. How are you doing today?"
(comes into focus)
"I'm doing good." She rings me up.
I look at her badge.
"Have a nice day." she says, making eye contact.
"You have a great day too, Margaret." with a smile. She smiles back.
I am suddenly visible, in the real world, if for a moment.

this imitation
this half life
this place where I meet other people and
we exchange looks at each other's masks;
this refuge from real life that,
for me, isn't real life,
it's a lack of life.
in here, I live the imitation of life
in here, I'm not invisible. I command attention by my mastery of the medium. I build scenes with my words. I construct a simulacrum of the real world; and those seeking their own refuge, their own imitation, they see this mask, and forget, that this is not all of me.

rarely you see my face, my real eyes, hear my real voice.
you think you may know me. But there really is more to me than this avatar.

as a voyeur, I see the real life...the physical life
the interactions on that other plane.
I wonder how is that accomplished?
what is the key? and why can't I find it?

I look at my life circumstances, and the life that has not gone the way I would have expected.
Making the most out of bad situations;
grasping happiness where I can find it;
holding on to it until the last shred of hope flitters away,
 through my fingers.
never learning how to grasp, and hold and handle;
too anxious, too soon, too strong, too wrong,
and then back to the shelter of my inner safe place.
walls rebuilt, defenses laid, back in the high tower.

[mask photographs copyright © 2005 by James McCune and used with permission]

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