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Take Off Your Mask

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  • Take Off Your Mask

    Though I have readily abandoned the hollow pleasures of this empty stage
    And walked behind the tattered brilliance of that trailing curtain
    I am still a helpless servant to this mounting rage
    Whose crippling dominance is absolutely certain,
    To pervert the awkward contours of that genial façade
    Which I casually present to kindly friends and parasitic strangers
    Who cannot help but feel extremely odd
    When they somehow sense the swirling panoply of hidden dangers,
    Which lurk beneath the silent beauty of this frail disguise
    Whose rotten lineaments are obviously decaying
    Right before the twitching orbits of their nervous eyes
    In an eerie way that some might find impossibly dismaying,
    For I have with violent trepidation borne
    The colossal weight of this excruciating visor
    That in times of creeping desperation is politely worn
    To keep those prying seekers none the wiser,
    For when I feel the restless hunger of that primal craving
    Set my unhinged mind to furiously raving
    I become a willing minion of that rabid beast
    Who in his frightening madness loves to lewdly feast
    Upon the tender bones of weaker prey
    As I watch their flailing spirit slowly slip away
    Beneath these sable waves of homicidal thought
    Within whose paralyzing currents I am forever caught.

    And amidst the gray seclusion of this lonely room
    I redefine my crude dimensions
    As I the gilded outlines of my higher self entomb
    With the tired rules of deadening conventions,
    Which claim that all shall proudly wear
    Their own peculiar kind of enigmatic mask
    As they into the glinting rondure of their lying mirror stare
    And go about the mundane task
    Of pretending that their tortured lives are going well
    Though they often wake up in the tangled fury of a desperate sweat
    For these vast dissemblers would that midnight terror quell
    If their quaking hearts were not by such a strange insanity beset,
    And with a poet’s lengthy elegance will I brazenly disclose
    The obvious solution to their devastating ills
    For I’ll boldly speak of arcane truths which no one knows
    And a soothing antidote whose secret magic stills
    The convulsive throbbing of your vibrant rage
    Which no chemical distraction can entirely assuage
    For I know that you were made to sadly grovel
    As if to whine and beg were something novel
    That no one else had ever in their fleeting lifetime tried
    Though it sorely hurt their badly wounded pride
    To daily toss the scattered remnants of their ultimate desires
    Into the greedy flames of someone else’s lustful fires.

    And when I with nothingness convene
    I engage in sudden acts of expeditious violence
    For I despise the queer monotony of a bland routine
    And take greater comfort in the droning silence
    That echoes through the shattered mansions of my chambered soul
    With all the sullen anger of a ruined widow’s piercing wail
    For I have grown exhausted with this hackneyed role
    And that insidious director who always urges me to fail
    In every sort of vile endeavor
    At which I try my timid hands
    For I know he feels immensely clever
    When upon my broken neck he stands
    To say that I must now erase
    The faded rudiments of this malleable veneer
    Whose slow corrosion marks my aging face
    With the furrowed lines of everlasting fear,
    But if I could intelligently surmise
    The naked truth within that madman’s lies
    I would expose the dismal nature of his heinous tale
    And to my dazzled audience explain the monumental scale
    Behind the curious loquacity of that mesmerizing fraud
    Whose cunning stunts we still openly applaud
    When in feeble droves we quietly assemble
    Just to let that daunting sadist make us marvel, quake, and tremble.

    And when I transform into a more enlightened being
    Whose bearded mouth is crammed with brilliant phrases
    I feel that such a metamorphosis should be immensely freeing
    For then it will be I alone who raises
    The question of what behind this ornate mask is hiding
    When all possible pretenses are stripped bare
    And I alone am now involved in carefully deciding
    On the hallowed words to my own egocentric prayer
    For if ever I were to unconsciously amend
    These frantic lines which I have halfway penned
    I would change their morbid connotation
    Into a blissful verse of infinite duration
    Whose haunting melodies would span the bleak divide
    That keeps us from the dark, eternal wonder of our celestial guide
    Who also dances to the timeless measures of this galactic masquerade
    Where even he will live to hear the sacred chorus of our solemn music fade.