You stand at this looking glass gazing
Through thin slits,
Only to recognize a tired dream, again.
The muffled grin screams:
Where is this being, this I?
…But… what of the agony of truth…and fate?
I am cowering behind
This blithe reflection…
Death will come for the whole of you
(And destiny can be persuaded),
But for now
That tortured smile has died, it serves no more.
Starved of sincerity for years,
Atrophied, exhausted… It’s dead! Rip it off
And bury it somewhere
Far, unmarked. Then…
Offer your raw skin to dread and to desire;
To fear and to love.
Howl when fierce lust mutilates your senses, or
As the cutting frost of grief
Scours out stark flesh.
Turn that carved countenance to the world!
…naked, wide-eyed awake…
I scan my mottled glyphs.
We all wear masks to some extent. The ego feels too vulnerable to fully expose itself to the world. We fear judgment or rejection, so we protect ourselves. Like a battle shield, we hold up an image of our social self… a mask.
Over time, these buffers become a collection of rigid identities. We put on ‘jovial’ or ‘confident’ or ‘indifferent’: superficial symbols with which we interact, hiding our true selves behind many layers. We take off one mask, only to reveal another, and call ourselves complex beings. But our dreams are not fooled by this camouflage.
While the ego sleeps, dreams gnaw down to the bones of truth, stripping away our hollow illusions. They point at our issues and misconceptions, saying, “Face up to this!” They point towards freedom. The search for true identity can begin.
Part of this series was shown at my June 2014 exhibition called "Looking Out | Looking In", at Black Eye Gallery in Sydney.