Posts Tagged ‘mask’

Circling Mount Kailash, i.

Circling Mount Kailash


I have always imagined myself a childless man.
A man without any enduring consequence beyond myself.

Just myself. Just one man. My best, my worst.
My singular joys. My singular sorrows.

What matter if one day, no dawn?
Surely my cares would wash away.

Honestly, I always imagined myself alone.
If another, more like a cereal box illustration than real.

And if painting the room is unfinished, what difference?
No wife, not even a cat, so who’s to care, including me.

Might not wear that like a flag, nor any pride.
Yet scratch aside the sand and there’s one mask.

So am I honed of that mask or bare, one face?
And poems aren’t writ for art, but for sake of

a genuine life, a better heart. First step.

You’ll know when it reaches you.

neil reid © september 2010

Circling Mount Kailash. Just a distant second-hand participant. This high climb even to approach. The reality of that would likely be the end of me. However, listening here, my life is yet real enough, this part I’ll keep for now. More of where and why I’ll leave for another time, another page, and now mostly the words of a poem will begin. Only slight to say that looking near the face of god, truth becomes inevitable. One circle begins.

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Lilac choir

Lilac choir

Starting Over, READ WRITE POEM Mini-Challenge

poem group index POEM #6 RWP Mini-Challenge Prompt

Is there a mask that is really me?

Will you recognize an abandoned self?

A friend who’ll wear your clothes.

Drink from your glass, toss sheets loose

for longer legs.

Questions better left to comic books

might you ask? Arms length close.

The pitcher you fill with water has

good deeds secreted away, they pour

right out. Into your hands to hold

for the breadth of a breath.


And what she might have said.

There is such sweetness in not being sweet.

If you kiss me, would sugar fall out?

Father saw frozen diapers not swinging

in the wind. Was that why he thought he’d

be happier away?

Mother fell into her desire for happiness.

That’s why she had to work so hard climbing out.

Mother gave me pictures of my sister. She was

only a half. I’d rather have had all of her. She

was beautiful braids and olive skin.

In a book there’s a picture someone drew.

No name, but I recognize Mother’s hand.

Like warm rose snow, Mother said,

of a valley floor swimming like ripples

in early spring. Plums not yet.


She carries genius in her voice.

It comes out like words. Whittle

as you will. Add or subtract, primal

math won’t change a thing.

Yours is a river that returns to itself,

defies gravity, waiting for boats

with red summer sails.

There’s words on the page

but they’re all straight lines

that intersect. Each becomes

a different face.

One is a pencil, one a voice.

Many erased, changed,

whole pages gone.


So her words to me were blossom ripe.

I remembered that lilac dress, she said.

Now kind of immortalized in written script.

It has a skirt that’s floaty, like petals are.

Like a gentle wave’s approach, washing

onto a beach, a zenith of toes and foam,

then pulls back into itself. Another breath.

A fragrant ornamental olive tree.

Genus Syringa, family Oleaceae.

Floating above the valley floor.

Neil Reid © January 2010

with thanks to Irene Toh for the lilac dress

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ReadWritePoem   read write prompt #95

The poetics of the mash-up, by celebrity poet matthew hittinger.  

Combine two poems, two voices, two somethings, was the prompt.


This poem came into being actually independent of the prompt, but just seemed to fit the bill in a way for me.  Combined here are the first and primary voice, then along with a second, those thoughts you’d not normally speak except to yourself, that more private part.  Sort of the way I feel a lot of thoughts co-exist.  What you are willing to say out loud, and what you aren’t.  Like that.  Only a first attempt at this sort of expression, maybe some rough, yet it did feel “more right”, more complete.

Read the prompt responses of others here.


Third  version.  It just wanted this.  I went along.  And one more time.


You’ll never read this


I don’t know you     I love you.

I want to heal you but healing won’t change

a thing of who you are, maybe just love

instead, but I don’t know you     I love you.

I must be blind in some way     I clearly see.

You are more naked more bare     your fears

all of you undressed into my eyes.

More than most would dare more than

proclaimed Eureka’s of tin-panned love

with something somewhere anywhere.

I’ve no right to think anything onto you.

You are translucent     you are afraid brilliantly.

You are a lover in the park     you are alone.

You keep touch inside of you     outside of you.

You fall back into a bed     you rise

like a Phoenix would     you keep it to yourself.

I love you     who wouldn’t love you.

I am jealous of nothing at all     everything.

Because I don’t love you     know you     and

even if I would and you probably wouldn’t

anyway.  But I don’t know     I don’t ask.

There’s a mask     I don’t know who’s wearing it.

I like your toes     leaves like fingers do.

A tenderness a passion a thirst     I would hold

them all     I would hold you closer.

Maybe you won’t even see these words.

But maybe in the moments the best of me

really what I want you to know it is not

my love but love’s self I would reveal     you

know and not me but you     I love you that much.

And I don’t even know your name

but I love you that much.


Neil Reid © October 2009

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She wears one mask

She wears one mask


She wears one mask,

and under blue sky’s face, hers

is more calm, a pacific tide beneath

waves that pull me close.


She wears one mask,

contours her face embosses in the air,

with veiled smile, easy affection, like

some curtain drawn in warm embrace.

Eyes that linger do arrive.


She wears one mask,

and in the twinkle of her eye,

that moment when I turn my gaze,

she transforms, lets go the chrysalis

gauze of draped desire, which

I undo silk by silken breath.


She wears one mask,

lips like leaves she stirs the wind,

takes me within hushed embrace,

till begins this apple bloomed,

Am I the leaf or the wind?


And behind each mask unmasked,

the one who wears us both, radiant.



Neil Reid © 1997

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