At Work I Stand Observing My Diminished Self

At Work I Stand Observing My Diminished Self

1 (reflection)

Six iterations, alike but lessened in sequence, and always in pairs:
front and back, oblique, the two mirrors becoming four, then six.

A perfect mirror reflects and neither transmits nor absorbs light.

Tilting my chin, I accept reflectance according to its distribution.

Retina as transducer, producing neural impulses.

The images consume no space but the effect is of distance.

Vision is not simply the retina’s translation
but counts inference and assumption among its influences.

The sum and product of its parts: 1 + 2 + 3, or, 1 x 2 x 3.

Angles achieve distinctions apparent at each adjustment.

Turning slightly, I detect movement in each replica.

A six-door cubic cage depicting the bondage of sense and elements.

It is possible to withdraw from this frame.

2 (answers)

Does the weaker eye perceive less.
Who conceals the shadow’s death.
Is a distal truth a lie or merely implication.
How do you rid the mirror of its ghosts.
What resonates in the echo’s decline.
Did the light switch subvert the blackened image.
Apparition, projection or visual representation.
When do waves not disturb.
At what point does belief transmute sight.
What fixes the mirror’s image.
Who closed his eyes and saw light.

3 (prosopagnosia)

I sip coffee and gaze out the second-floor window.

More light enters my neighbor’s office than mine.

Calculate the difference between illumination and glare.

Looking ahead, I claim no face and recognize no one.

The eye converts a signal from one form of energy to another.

Accepting light from external objects, I perceive reflection as the true arbiter.

The dissected path impairs transduction.

Face as identifier: to make, to do.

Translation: imperfection: diminishment.

Blink.

* * *

“At Work I Stand Observing My Diminished Self” was published in Posit in October 2017.

46 thoughts on “At Work I Stand Observing My Diminished Self

  1. There’s such wonderful play here between objectivity and subjectivity, seeing and perceiving, that the ultimate “diminished self” ends up appearing somehow magnified/empowered, indeed, humanized in the very moment of facelessness.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful writing, powerful subject. It prompted me back to look for something I remembered from St Augustine in his “De Trinitate”. He speaks of the eyes as a mirror and the quality of “antisimilitude” – “for eyes can never see themselves except in looking glasses …. and [so] the mind knows itself as if through a looking glass”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There are a great many intriguing lines here … with ample room to associate them with one another in whatever way “appears” rational (irrational, in a couple of cases). This sent me to the dictionary for “prosopagnosia”. I love the notion of contemplating mirrored images while knowing what’s in those images is a figment of the imagination to a large degree. (I abandoned makeup years ago!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Quite a challenge to wrap my mind around your poem. In 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, it says in verse 12: For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
    Your poem reminded me of that verse.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on The Spinsta Life and commented:
    Thank you to O for writing and sharing this amazing piece of poetry.

    I love the part of the title that says “I Stand Observing My Diminished Self.”

    Maybe I need to create a PIty Party category at the left too lol

    So very melodramatic. So appropriate to the darker side of aging.:

    “2 (answers)

    Does the weaker eye perceive less.
    Who conceals the shadow’s death.
    Is a distal truth a lie or merely implication.
    How do you rid the mirror of its ghosts.
    What resonates in the echo’s decline.
    Did the light switch subvert the blackened image.
    Apparition, projection or visual representation.
    When do waves not disturb.
    At what point does belief transmute sight.
    What fixes the mirror’s image.
    Who closed his eyes and saw light.”

    Liked by 2 people

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