The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday and Adorable Pup

The Right Mask
By Brian Patten

One night a poem came up to a poet
From now on, it said, you must wear a mask.
What kind of mask? asked the poet.
A rose mask, said the poem.
I've used it already, said the poet,
I've exhausted it.
Then wear the mask that's made out of
a nightingale's song, use that mask.
Oh, it's an old mask, said the poet,
it's all used up.
Nonsense, said the poem, it's the perfect mask,
still, try on the god mask,
now that mask illuminates heaven.
It's a tight mask, said the poet,
and the stars crawl about in it like ants.
Then try on the troubador's mask, or the singer's mask,
try on all the popular masks.
I have, said the poet, but they fit so easily.

The poem was getting impatient,
it stamped its feet like a child,
it screamed. Then try on your own face,
try the one mask that terrifies,
the mask only you could possibly use,
the mask only you could wear out.

The poet tore at his face til it bled,
this mask? he yelled, this mask?
Yes, said the poem, yes.

But the poet was tired of masks,
he had lived too long with them,
he snatched at the poem and stuck it in his face.
Its screams were muffled, it wept, it tried to be lyrical,
it wriggled into his eyes and mouth.

Next day his friends were afraid of him,
he looked so distorted.
Now it's the right mask, said the poem, the right mask.
It clung to him lovingly and never let go again.


I had a nice Monday, mostly because I had dinner plans with Angela and Carrie, who, though local, I hadn't seen in a year and a half. We met at the Silver Diner, so I also went to World Market before arriving for dinner, in large part because my mask strap broke and the masks are half price there at this late date in the pandemic. So that was a lot of adventure by the standards of this past year, and I got to have eggs benedict with Beyond Sausage plus 1/3 of an ice cream sundae and catch up with both of them!

My day was otherwise uneventful, catching up on some chores from the weekend since I unexpectedly spent most of Sunday with family. We watched the new episode of The Republic of Sarah after I got home, then the first episode of Titans, which is now on TNT; it looks like yet another extremely dark DC show, so we'll see if it holds my interest or if like Doom Patrol it starts to depress me. I had a request for more of Adam's dog, so here are some photos by him, some by me, and some by Katherine:

2021-05-29 17.10.14

2021-07-06 adam pepper 1A

2021-02-05 adam pepper A

2021-05-28 12.01.02

2021-04-10 adam pepper beach 3

2021-07-11 15.24.28A

2021-05-27 15.02.50

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