by Greg Davison
A poem about how we change ourselves to fit in
|The invisible man stalks through his life. He prefers to hide
Or scurry away. So he makes himself small and silent,
During those trips to the shops, and those rides on the bus.
Snake-like he sheds invisible skin, when he sits alone in solitude.
And whenever he leaves, he wears that silvery veneer,
That conceals the coarser features of the individual man.
It makes him a part of an accepted collective; keeps him
Away from forgotten words, unanswered questions and
All awkward delays on which the world relies, always under
The hundred thousand eyes and corresponding sighs
Of other snakeskin people, in each their snakeskin lives.
The snakeskin is smooth to the touch, and neatly it fits in,
With a million other snakeskins, all looking the same,
Mass-produced and mass-supplied by media and
All other rules of how to live your life. Without it,
He knows, he will be shunned, and treated him with contempt.
It could never scratch a stranger, but it burns the skin within.
That's why he takes it off, when he's alone, and away from all the eyes.
To soothe that damaged person, whom he's hidden inside.
But now he wants to shed his skin. He needs to reveal the scars.
But the silver suit sticks tightly to him, as though it were his flesh.
He longs to tear it off his back, but now he's too afraid.
The invisible man has buried the suit that fit him.
All his life, made just for him, no-one else could wear it.
The suit that he could breathe in, the human skin he wore.
It was rougher round the edges, and dirty on its paws,
But better than a snakeskin like the ones we've seen before.