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.


* * *

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

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

  1. I teach drawing classes and tell students that vision is a faulty process. The brain interprets information according to experience and biases and sometimes gets things wrong. Students sometimes argue with me about facial and perspective details. They draw table tops as if viewing them from above while the objects resting on the surface are drawn as if seen from a lower angle. They make eyes too large and place them too high on the forehead (My response: short on brains, long on jaw). Their expectations and assumptions prevent them from seeing what is right in front of them.


    • I’m often amused at the differences that two people may have in memories of shared experiences. What we see, what we think we see, and our interpretations of these, are individually tailored…


    • Oh, I dunno what it should be called. Part of it was written via a “collage” process, and I suppose it’s fair to say that I was experimenting with trying to elicit emotional responses from lines that are almost clinical in tone. I love playing with language and implication!


  2. Pingback: At Work I Stand Observing My Diminished Self by Robert OKAJI (Repost) – UNDONE POET

  3. Synchronicity! I’m reading this a few hours before some minor (please!) eye surgery to relieve (please!) my dry eye condition … I have a slew of questions w/o answers … aging certainly does diminish … looking forward to my not-so-dry eyes converting signal from one form of energy to another in pleasurable ways!

    Liked by 1 person

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