Wednesday, 1 September 2010

What I found out today. o182



How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!

~ Alexander Pope "Eloisa to Abelard"




A PRETENSE TO ONE
Renee Cohen



I am not every woman.
I am not every man.

You may well be fooled
if you think you know who I am -
for I am - and I am not -
fixed,
neither in the veil nor behind it
neither in one mask or another
neither in one mirror or one water
neither in self nor in other.

I do not have face nor security.
My visibility is hungry -
for recognition
for food
for voice...

"& you won't get the job if you touch the students:
that's simply not allowed"

Hospital birthing, too, offers no touching support.

We live in a time when one is libel
for touching others.

Retreating into invisibility is the master's
preference for his slaves.

Touching evokes feelings, becomes a shared breath...

How can I hear what you are saying!
How can I say what I don't know!

Love is generative, touching,
feeling, caring,
not commanding, not complacence,
not nonchalant, often not sophisticated,
not alone, not frantic, not bland...

My barriers are up against the "every"
something or another.
My questions lie half way between
pretend & genuine.
My pain is complex - the prison
not entirely of my own making.

I have no shield
no salvation
no second nature
no God
no leader to follow
no assurances that I might not be
phony sometimes
times when I'm not kind
times when I'm not gentle
times when I'm not encouraging

times when You really don't care...
times when You don't touch another...anywhere

Bring me back to the words
wrap me in them gently
enrapture me in your love of words
& I'll know that my worth is beyond
the price of a carved mask
beyond the wit it takes to play
another game of hide-&-seek
beyond anything smooth.

Though I play - I am not therefore phony
only spontaneously silly.

I know no last things that I might want...

I like to play, to stir the watery image,
to sing songs that grow their own
wings though I have none -
I pretend to be
no angel...
What phoniness comes
about
comes of not accepting
the mingling of self & other
a pretense to one.

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