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Original Mask of Alabaster

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I wrote this poem in college. It was the first serious poem I ever wrote. It was inspired by a very disturbing image I saw in my window while awake. I had to leave college during that year I wrote it, during a time I thought I was developing schizophrenia. As it turns out, I was not crazy, medications I was prescribed made me hallucinate and lose my sense of self. I actually have no mental illness but was heavily inspired by this experience to write poetry. This poem was the first product of that inspiration.

As an aside, I’m firmly against the pharmaceutical industry as the products they produce are harmful and I aim to be an example of that. My non-pharmaceutical mind is healthy and the prescriptions I was given from doctors who were convinced would help me made me crazy. I hope that this message applies to this poem to those readers awakened enough to see the connection.

A wince doth lurk wearing which wicked gaze,
Of conniving cast shadows ‘tween my windowpanes.

Gazing through the window’s diaphanous gelid glass, 
I see a flushing fluorescent misty haze of frothy brass.

It floats aloft the frost of the frigid Winter floor, 
Stirring cirrus shadow limbs of a moonlit sycamore.

An incandescent twilight cloak, illumes the timber's lattice, 
Where shines this cryptic spectral glow akin the ignis fatuus.

Abrupt by insanity as I fancy this fantasy, surely born by a brief hallucination;
Optic inventions craft in confusion surely conjured such nonce observation.

A peculiar perched mask seems to hang disguised within the wintry thicket, “An illusion,” I suspect “my percipience deceived, by a dubious false exhibit.”

Two holes are dug beneath rubbed bone, bleached white in wan complexion, Masquerading to mock the missing paired two eyes of aesthetic perfection.

“Indeed,” I thought, “These staring beams appear as do a pair of eyes,”
I try and descry the light from which they shine under a gleaming guise.

Purloined I’m poised in a lucid melt, tasting a poisonous pure oppression, Wrought by this face that haunts my view through the lens of my fenestration.

Shifting my view to find fault in my faculty,
I sought salvage in sight of such psychic insanity.

My fidgeting efforts prove futile, the carven masked eyes fix upon mine still! Incessantly I’m stunned in speculum, boiling in a benumbing brisk of thrill.

Alas, my eyesight: no longer the sole sense of this deville, 
What once was mere vision hails now my ears with a trill.

My breath and pulse waxing slower, and waning ever faster, 
Aghast by celestial sounds from a susurrating mask of plaster.

Whence from my vision avowed, to the vacillations I succumb, 
Of undulations the mask strums, moving inside my eardrums.

Who brings to me this apparition, arisen from perhaps an adumbration,
Of a visit from he whose grim reaping, lends to the living certain cessation?

And then in reminiscence, to my mind arrived the anamnesis,
Of the shelf that shelters a book one might otherwise dismiss.

Within its parchment pages, whence in refuge resides a clue, 
To what this mask is made of; when, where, and why; by who?

Pins prick from prior paralysis, upon my dermis disguise of bone,
I shiver and grab the book and beg, bound reason to me be shone.

Within this covered lexicon read acrylic words in arcane diction, 
Which most readers would anthologize, as ancient artifact and fiction.

The first supposition tis true, that this book was bound in the archaic ages, Amiss the latter assumption that fable unfolds by the turning of its pages.

In my desperation I stir commotion, reading over every turned folio, 
Longing for light in yonder window break, as did Shakespeare’s Romeo.

Yet each passage read of occult sorcery, or a variety of mages, No line of a white mask, appeared to me on any of these pages.

All hope seemed to escape with passing page, turned by my flustered fingers,
Then a sudden zephyr blown ingress to the page on which now I linger.

On the bottom right reads in numeral: “Nine-hundred and ninety-nine,” On which reads the magical recounted chronicle of myth upon its line.

The fluorescence of the pallid mask that posts upon the tree, 
Shares the ashen-sheen on a face seen afore, on this page by me.

An oblong oil-painted portrait, white and blush of reddish-pink, 
Its caption reads: “The Mask of Alabaster,” inscribed in faded ink.

To the left of the ghostly image reads a paragraph like a spell, 
A story of dark wizardry, which concocts white masks in hell.

Animated by a wizard whose avarice, bears blithe the thaumaturgy, 
Of augury and the legerdemain, required of such magical metallurgy.

A warlock’s soul is cursed with gypsum stone, 
And forged in a fire of sapphire and bone.
His soul is trapped in a putrid shell: his very own decapitate skull! 
Oh, his eyes shall cry within each weeping and hollow-sunk eyehole.
On his brow will gleam a glowing garnet, glimmering gold and scarlet, 
Luring any sanguine victim whose view found this red lustrous target.

Such dread and morbidity of a lost soul; ‘tis most tragic, 
When trapped in a mask made by evil mischievous magic.

What malice must succeed from such a tumorous terror? 
And what reconnaissance be sought by its hidden wearer?

Returning my gaze to the wraith in the window,
I remember that it has my mind muddled in limbo.

This mask of cadaverous complexion, 
To my horror, mine own reflection.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2018




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Date: 3/12/2018 6:12:00 PM
Great writing Brandon, keep up the fine work. All the best, Charlie
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Brendan J. Simons
Date: 3/20/2018 6:49:00 PM
Thanks Charles, I really appreciate that and I’ll try!