Which of these would you favor over the others,
these skins I save like cloaks in a wardrobe?
That I sometimes loosely drape around my naked self,
hanging in random rags never meant to form a garment.
That I sometimes stretch taut around the edges of bones
wrapped in tight plastic to form a more perfect seal.
Which of a dozen different textures should I apply?
Would you favor perhaps the self-effacing smartass
pale from humility and slumping with contrition?
Or maybe the isolated innocent, the inner child,
a naive nucleus orbited wildly by hardened shells?
Could you smile at lunacy from the frightened fool
when he shouts aloud just to know he was heard?
Might you admire the silent mind of the seeker,
who hears every last word, both said and unsaid?
Would you want the vulgar chat action figure,
the one who takes the measure of a man in inches?
At best, I have a guess or two to feel you out,
to know which of these cloak-skinned faces,
I might reveal; might peal away a little more.
Only a little space of time to say for certain
which of my exposures will need the thickest hide.
About the Poem
This poem talks about the way a person can be oversimplified in the new world of online introductions and dialogue. There is often an expectation of monolithic, two-dimensionality in this world. You become a persona rather than a person. Here is a video interpretation of this poem, read by David:
AttireThe poem considers the nature of identity in an increasingly digital world where someone can often choose to be anybody they wish. The video layers the odd notion of going online to shop for different types of virtual identity, which provide masks for people....and others.View on YouTube
This poem was completed May 15, 2003. It is previously unpublished in print.