Porcelain Doll-man

by S Francis

I see myself in a picture,
Looking far away, looking removed,
And I want to run away from everything
They asked me to do,

or just sledge-
hammer the flawed porcelain doll-man
standing on the stage singing words
so well he doesn’t realize, like Monkee’s,
they are genuine words of other people who
need me in make-up to don the costume hung
in the closet of life’s green room
and speak for them.

I see myself in a picture,
Looking far away, looking removed,
And I begin to make up something to believe
I pin something on my sleeve to seem genuine

a medal, a badge,
some rank indicator of success that pins
me to a thing greater than me, sitting behind
in the green room showered, un-costumed,
flipping two quarters, one for each eye,
while the porcelain cracks
expose a seam the spirit can
slip through and haunt the crowd.

I see myself in a picture,
Looking far away, removed,
And I mistake myself for a stranger
Under these stage lights

fading the doll’s clothes,
I strip.
I strip the old man’s blindfold
so he can see where he walked,
ambling casually among strangers with gin
and tonic in hand, numbing them
with his meaningless wit
protected, protecting, protect.

I see myself in a picture,
far away, removed
And pick up the frame and feel its weight in
my throwing hand

hearing the voice,
that Monkee voice echo back
from the audience, laughing
and jump out naked on stage
mistaken for a stranger
by my own friends
hoping that my angel didn’t
give up watching over me

I see myself in a picture
I look far away, I am removed.
It falls to the stage as fast
As the porcelain doll, shattering.

A response to Mistaken for Strangers by Berninger/Devendorf
Read more: https://sailorpoet.com/2017/03/15/song-of-the-week-the-national-mistaken-for-strangers-and-a-response-porcelain-doll-man/

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9 Comments to “Porcelain Doll-man”

  1. Loved your use of the stage and theater in the poem. A lot of inner feelings? Really loved the lines “hoping that my angel didn’t give up watching over me”! I’ve wondered that myself from time to time. Kudos.

  2. I need to sit with this one for a while – I plan to do so this week. Best, DG.

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