Please Hear What I’m Not Saying

Posted by on June 22, 2011

Please Hear What I’m Not Saying

 

Don’t be fooled by me.

Don’t be fooled by the face I wear

For I wear a mask, a thousand masks,

Masks that I’m afraid to take off

And none of them is me.

 

Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me,

but don’t be fooled,

for God’s sake don’t be fooled.

I give you the impression that I’m secure,

that all is sunny and unruffled with me,

within as well as without,

that confidence is my name and coolness my game,

that the water’s calm and I’m in command

and that I need no one,

but don’t believe me.

 

My surface may be smooth but

my surface is my mask,

ever-varying and ever-concealing.

Beneath lies no complacence.

Beneath lies confusion, and fear, and aloneness.

But I hide this. I don’t want anybody to know it.

I panic at the thought of my weakness exposed.

That’s why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,

a nonchalant sophisticated facade,

to help me pretend,

to shield me from the glance that knows.

 

But such a glance is precisely my salvation,

my only hope, and I know it.

That is, if it is followed by acceptance,

If it is followed by love.

It’s the only thing that can liberate me from myself

from my own self-built prison walls

from the barriers that I so painstakingly erect.

It’s the only thing that will assure me

of what I can’t assure myself,

that I’m really worth something.

But I don’t tell you this. I don’t dare to. I’m afraid to.

 

I’m afraid you’ll think less of me,

that you’ll laugh, and your laugh would kill me.

I’m afraid that deep-down I’m nothing

and that you will see this and reject me.

 

So I play my game, my desperate, pretending game

With a façade of assurance without

And a trembling child within.

So begins the glittering but empty parade of Masks,

And my life becomes a front.

I tell you everything that’s really nothing,

and nothing of what’s everything,

of what’s crying within me.

So when I’m going through my routine

do not be fooled by what I’m saying.

Please listen carefully and try to hear what I’m not saying,

what I’d like to be able to say,

what for survival I need to say,

but what I can’t say.

 

I don’t like hiding.

I don’t like playing superficial phony games.

I want to stop playing them.

I want to be genuine and spontaneous and me

but you’ve got to help me.

You’ve got to hold out your hand

even when that’s the last thing I seem to want.

Only you can wipe away from my eyes

the blank stare of the breathing dead.

Only you can call me into aliveness.

Each time you’re kind, and gentle, and encouraging,

each time you try to understand because you really care,

my heart begins to grow wings –

very small wings,

but wings!

 

With your power to touch me into feeling

you can breathe life into me.

I want you to know that.

I want you to know how important you are to me,

how you can be a creator–an honest-to-God creator –

of the person that is me

if you choose to.

You alone can break down the wall behind which I tremble,

you alone can remove my mask,

you alone can release me from the shadow-world of panic,

from my lonely prison,

if you choose to.

Please choose to.

 

Do not pass me by.

It will not be easy for you.

A long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.

The nearer you approach me

the blinder I may strike back.

It’s irrational, but despite what the books may say about man

often I am irrational.

I fight against the very thing I cry out for.

But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls

and in this lies my hope.

Please try to beat down those walls

with firm hands but with gentle hands

for a child is very sensitive.

 

Who am I, you may wonder?

I am someone you know very well.

For I am every man you meet

and I am every woman you meet.

author’s website:¬† http://www.poetrybycharlescfinn.com/

Last modified on June 22, 2011

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