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The Faces on the Shelf
Esoteric

One face or two,
 1
who knows?
 2
 
 
Maybe the dozen
 3
enshrined,
 4
 
 
kept on the mantelpiece,
 5
smiling down,
 6
 
 
through the cracks,
 7
into the mans eyes.
 8
 
 
A shrivelled insect,
 9
unaware of a name
 10
 
 
that creates it,
 11
need not hide, not
 12
 
 
fearful of itself
 13
as a weak
 14
 
 
embodiment of the
 15
distaste creeping
 16
 
 
through the perception
 17
not seen.
 18
 
 
The man is afraid,
 19
would rather lay
 20
 
 
dead amongst leaves where
 21
those insects can ignorantly
 22
 
 
crawl across his chapped
 23
lips, the mask he never knew
 24
 
 
and left rot in
 25
the visions of those faces,
 26
 
 
staring down above a fire.
 27
Deep in his eyes
 28
 
 
perfection and beauty
 29
are unattainable lies,
 30
 
 
where only his thoughts swim deeply,
 31
swim deeply within him.
 32

24 Jan 07

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Comments:

I like the format- good one!
 — unknown

thank you - the format just fell into place on this one.
 — Esoteric

You are an asshole. You must go.
 — unknown

i have gone - i am sinply residing in your head. i am the reason you don't sleep at night and why you spend all your time chasing ghost sillouettes through message board mazes.
 — Esoteric

You fuckhead.
 — unknown

Pelican's gonna get you.
 — unknown

The Faces on the Shelf  

An interesting title but I wonder of it, the reason being is that are not the faces on a mantelpiece? Is the poem about the faces or about what the man contemplates about them and the bug, ant, or spider? I can’t be sure.

One face or two,
who knows?

This may refer to the two faced person, or so the poet may think, or the individual looking at the scene. Who knows?
    
Maybe the dozen
enshrined,

A dozen faces, enshrined. I wonder then if they are all dead. Most would have a mix of the living and dead. Maybe these are all memories.
    
kept on the mantelpiece,
smiling down,
    
Smiling down, a dozen pictures of smiling people, smiling dead people. Not many in ages past actually smiled in pictures, but maybe these do, or maybe it is one or two of them.

through the cracks,
into the mans eyes.

I’m not sure if the cracks are in the pictures or photos, or the glass in front of them, or perhaps the cracks through the brick, stone, or ornate wood mantel, I don’t know.
    
A shrivelled insect,
unaware of a name

Shrivelled is spelled shriveled, not because I am a great speller, no, it is because Word has told me so.  Shriveled insect would be dead, although it is unaware, but I am not so sure that the intent was for it to be dead.
  
that creates it,  
need not hide, not

Not sure what this means, name that creates it, maybe the creator, unaware of the creator.
    
fearful of itself
as a weak

Must be alive. Not fearful.    
embodiment of the
distaste creeping

“distaste creeping” does not seem correct.
    
through the perception
not seen.

A riddle for sure, maybe a web, I don’t know.
    
The man is afraid,
would rather lay

Is this the man looking up at the mantel or a man within the pictures? I’m not sure.
    
dead amongst leaves where
those insects can ignorantly

I’m not sure “ignorantly” is go here, but I understand its meaning.
    
crawl across his chapped
lips, the mask he never knew

Why are lips chapped? It’s like the director of a movie forgot to give the audience a clue. Mask?
    
and left rot in
the visions of those faces,

“rot” or rotting? “the” probably is not needed here. Memories of those people.
    
staring down above a fire.
Deep in his eyes

It is like the faces are creeping the guy out but suddenly he is laying in leaves dead looking at the mantel, but the leaves must be outside, so it is a change of scenes.
    
perfection and beauty
are unattainable lies,

I agree.
    
where only his thoughts swim deeply,
swim deeply within him.

I would like to know the thoughts that “swim deeply within him”, this information should be in the poem. In fact this information probably is the poem!  I have read the poem several times, it is sort of a haunted poem, I enjoy the texture of the poem, but I think the biggest problem for me is the scene shifts and the unwillingness of the poet to share his deepest thoughts. Honesty really is the best policy, except that for poets who are peering down inside themselves it is a difficult thing to pull it up all the way and share it to the world.
 — Fallen

fallen, thanks for taking the time to read and critique. i see what you mean and where you're coming from. I shall take a look over this and edit as it certainly needs it. Thanks.
 — Esoteric

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