the Mask



Still pressing up against the hardest surfaces

the ones made smooth and polished from stroking

the oldest deceits stand effortlessly smirking

no longer disguised in trick wrapping

nor granting the encumbered insurance of knowing

power cradles itself suckling from the lives of the many who trustingly feed it


Why is it our children are taught only humans may realize potential?

Was this the start of the game?


By bedding these apocryphal gods

we’ve found more synthesis than birthing

as we rotate each new upstart 

this long line of rulers, healers and salesmen

organizing the most popular projections

when even they are fooled into being

just the face of the mask


worn by indifference


I wrote this poem about twelve years ago…overwhelmed, angry, frustrated. If anything, the situation has become  worse but I am encouraged now by small, intrinsic, heartfelt actions that turn this tide. I am a human being who loves and is loved…this has to count for something


photo credit: <a href=””>origami joel</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

13 responses

    • I hesitated posting this one, Geo Sans, because my question is more….Who am I personally in all this? It has come down to this for me…what energies do I foster in myself? Do I spend my energies railing against the machine or do I spend them building a resilient life, cognizant of all I’m dealing with, but focused on information and actions that sustain me and those I love. Anger and its sibling emotions, I found, are hungry little beasts and it’s crunch time.
      The first thing I said to myself was, “I am my culture” wanting to own this instead of separating myself from all I found overwhelming. After I came out of shock…I found some direction.


  1. our culture

    conditions us

    unconscious indoctrinations


    when eyes open

    for myself

    where do I fit

    am I part of this


    where do I find peace

    in my niche


  2. I’m so glad I returned to this piece and read the comments by your thoughtful readers and you, JHW. I remember now why I didn’t comment after my first visit, but merely “liked.” It is because I wanted to voice the vision you articulate in your replies, but didn’t wish to sound preachy and possibly offensive. I support completely this path you’re following, the tough one of taking responsibility. Bravo on creating a rich and resilient and loving life, and helping to nurture others like me in doing the same. So much harder and wondrous than the easy, knee-jerk games of anger, blame in which so many mire. The world is indeed a more delicious and hopeful place because of you and your efforts. Rock on, fine, fierce lady. Xoxo


    • My hope is that you would always feel comfortable expressing how you resonate with one of my poems, Sirena Tales.! I appreciate your response whatever it may be…
      I know how much of a challenge it is phrasing something in a way that can be understood, but it adds immensely to the dialogue, opening up ways of viewing difficult issues.
      Thank you for returning to this one!


      • Thank you for the warm invitation. Yes, the challenge of phrasing something that conveys precisely what I wish to say with little or no chance of misunderstanding….This blogging adventure has underscored even more for me the power of words, and at times I stay my hand rather than writing a comment that may go awry. You’re right, of course–dialogue is the hope, offers the hope. I guess I just feel it’s more chancy with the written word with folks I don’t really know, especially on matters so deeply felt. But now, with you at least, I won’t hesitate as much. Thank you! xo


  3. your poem explodes with ingenuity, beauty and emotional resonance. thank you for sharing it with me. tony


    • I’m glad you found something here Tony. The cadence writing it was pure spit, staccato on the notes, fire in the well and much ruminating thought…hopefully tempered by continually refined action.


  4. Excellent poem, J.H.

    I think I share much of the frustration you are expressing in this poem -and I think I also appreciate the joy you experience to counteract this frustration.

    I am finding that the more closely I look at every little thing in the world -every little living form and the expressions those forms offer- the more I find joy and love. I think what I have been coming to accept is how joy and sorrow are, in a sense, piquant expressions of love and I am grateful that beneath the pain and the joy there is simply love . . . and it is there all of the time.


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