Tag Archives: disguise

Limitations

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Listening to the eulogy
I am reminded that one man can be a plethera of unique characters
depending on the angle of sight

Each if us sees him from our separate space, our spectacles constructed of smooth shapes and shards which glint in varying shades,
each piece tinted by a disparate need, a belief or desire
each reflecting its own shade and hue
or casting dark shadows that blind the sight or tell the truth

Often, the light changes the closer we venture
though some folks see no more than he wants us to see,
as he covers his flesh in clean monk’s habit
or dons pure white angel wings

They have no way of knowing that later he might crack the distorting lenses
and give us a glimpse of the truth

Gazing at the blown-up photos of the handsome man as he smiles in his prime
I’m reminded of my sense of surprise as he regaled me with his impish light, his unusual humour
his silverfish image of one who was kind

The eulogy tells of memories held
of stories birthed long before I beheld him –
tales of a father who nurtured his children
who never gave in to anger or sulking, who played no games of manipulation;
to a father and a man who was good and true.

This isn’t the time to pick holes in the rosebud input of those who hold honeyed visions close
It’s a moment to reflect and remember the man – his innocent efforts, great strengths and rare skills
and to remind ourselves that all of us have our own limitations
and there’s no way of telling how we’d react
to the exact set of circumstances he experienced
from the day he was born
to the second his last breath softly informed us
that the moment of death and peace had come.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Cover-up

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you shower
slough off the day’s smells
the smoke from someone’s cigarette
the tang of fried breakfast
the ghost of your daily skin routine
an uninvited whiff of aftershave, picked up
from an over-friendly neighbour
and your own stale sweat

you slough off every
clinging hint of yesterday
wash your hair
and rinse the dirt and soap away

emerging like a squeaky babe
you dry yourself and stand naked

there it is again
freed from the weight of imported smells
your polished surface emits a reek
that no scrub can erase
you search to find its cause; its core
but you search in vain
the smell escapes, mutates
changing from pig to stale milk to rotting eggs
every day, the same transmuting stench
invades your self-esteem

you spread your flesh with fragrant cream
laying a foundation for exterior smells to build on

layer by layer they adhere
the smoky haze, the greasy spoon,
the aftershave lifted from the neighbours hand
giving you a list of excuses
for your redolence

©Jane Paterson Basil

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