The Use of Mirrors

As a shield.

Long studies in endurance make it possible to hold a placid gaze, to make these eyes a mirror, returning only light. Vanity is so often the lead horse, its reliable prance quick to assert the next happy ending: Victory, victory! I watch the riders pass, their contented flag billowing bright. 

Behind these mirrored shields, the smoke of a homeland rises over blackened hills, the devastation nearly total. Except for this singing silence, the trace of oiled fingers around the surviving glass bowl. How did they miss this? Protect it. The mirrors are here so that the pillagers may not see what is left for the taking, highlighted against the scorched earth. Hold and wait until they are out of sight.

Space to Dance

After the sorting.

The mirror world seems dangerous, you observed. You went in anyway. Some creatures are carried by feeling. Later you made decisions. Such as, breathe when needed. Later, you thought, something needs to be done. About these masks and their attendant griefs. You began to sort through them. It became clear in the sorting, which of these you could leave behind. 

Someone asked what you were doing. You said, making room. To see something new, you would need more space. To dance fully inside it, you would need to put down what you carried. Of the dance, you said, it feels a lot like falling.


Inspired by the art of Pace Taylor. Italicized phrases are adapted from titles of the artist’s work.

Glass, Looking

Rites of passage and perception.

No one goes around throwing parties for unwelcome ghosts, but here’s a toast. I confess a special fondness for these swaggering apparitions who sashay their uncanny specters in and out of formerly familiar rooms, as if they existed––or played at this uncanny form of existence–– for no other reason than to complicate certain over-easy senses of belonging; of exclusion; of the ins and outs of everyday occurrences, where Munch’s screamer runs from Kafka’s ghost wearing a feather boa and dropping glitter dust all over the floor. When the seams of a mind start stretching, it is sometimes rare that the forms in any given mirror are familiar, are human, are known entities––even before the mirror shards itself into these scattered slices of being, reflecting.


For Andrey Tarkovsky.

A common impulse: to return to the comforting womb, but you offer alternatives, where opposites swap places: the dream is waking; the old, young. After the before, a whisper: Watch the rain inside.

In your gaze, apocalypse becomes a monochrome street, disappearing into sky. You vanish the expected plot, the comfortable heroic character, show a living man instead, and the others we know well in secret: those mystics, depressives, and recluses that rarely join the table.

Everywhere these pools and puddles, reflecting. All this silence, its maker unrepentant. In this layered universe, no part of nature is ever fixed. Emerging from earth and water, leaning toward air and fire. 

There is no need to return, after all. There are no opposites here.