The Masked Player


Without discernible misery

The masked player strides in


Confidence exuding in wavering streams

The curtain lifts to uncover

So many gleaming faces


Staring, focused, and joyful

The masked player does not move


Bewilderment tightens the air

The excitement bottled and compressed

The masked player waits


Knows the power he holds

Over the still crowd

The grand flourish!

And the excitement frees!
Laughing, they are relieved, the mirth is released

To the masked player’s silent satisfaction


The hot lights shine with an intangible force

Following and revealing

The masked player subtly flees their gaze


And the play begins

The crowd marvels and coos

Then gasps and sighs

They are pushed and pulled

The audience draws in a ragged breath

Gasps once more and falls to tears

A tale of heartbreak unrivaled

The masked player grins


The audience weeps — such sorrow and pain!

What a godforsaken man!

The masked player basks in the emotion


Then the curtain falls

The tears are dried and left in the theater

The play is now a play

And nothing more

A point for a study

And nothing more

An abstract fabrication

And nothing more

And nothing more

The masked player bows his head


The spell has been broken on the crowd

As they now critique the fiction

The masked player pushes away backstage


Relieved of the visceral sadness

Gone from the immediate pain

The crowd’s melancholy is allayed

A smile turns the corners of their mouths

And they wish not the play’s tragedy

Upon their worst enemy

Glad the clever actor had simply worn a mask

The masked player leaves the theater


He does not remove his mask

In the darkened night


He does not remove his mask

Arriving at his dismal house


He does not remove his mask

Shuffling up the crumbling stairs


He does not remove his mask

Passing pictures of dead friends


He does not remove his mask

Staring disgustedly in the grimy mirror


He does not remove his mask

For there is no mask to remove


Without any discernible misery

The masked player shuffles off


One thought on “The Masked Player”

  1. Poetry allows expression of observations thoughts and feelings in a concise and beautiful way…
    this is such a difficult milieu! I appreciate your
    Clear and gorgeous writing very much, Ben

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