The Masked Player

by Ben Samuels, age 12
The Masked Player Ben Samuels is an avid reader, obsessive writer, and history buff. In his free time, he has been known to enjoy a wide variety of books, ranging from Game of Thrones to The Catcher in the Rye. Known throughout his grade as a human dictionary and quiz extraordinaire, his most predominant hope is to one day open a bookstore of his own.

“Without discernible misery / The masked player strides in / Confidence exuding in wavering streams / The curtain lifts to uncover / So many gleaming faces / Apprehensive”

          

Without discernible misery

The masked player strides in

 

Confidence exuding in wavering streams

The curtain lifts to uncover

So many gleaming faces

Apprehensive

Staring, focused, and joyful

The masked player does not move

 

Bewilderment tightens the air

The excitement bottled and compressed

The masked player waits

 

Knows the power he holds

Over the still crowd

The grand flourish!

And the excitement frees!
Laughing, they are relieved, the mirth is released

To the masked player’s silent satisfaction

 

The hot lights shine with an intangible force

Following and revealing

The masked player subtly flees their gaze

 

And the play begins

The crowd marvels and coos

Then gasps and sighs

They are pushed and pulled

The audience draws in a ragged breath

Gasps once more and falls to tears

A tale of heartbreak unrivaled

The masked player grins

 

The audience weeps — such sorrow and pain!

What a godforsaken man!

The masked player basks in the emotion

 

Then the curtain falls

The tears are dried and left in the theater

The play is now a play

And nothing more

A point for a study

And nothing more

An abstract fabrication

And nothing more

And nothing more

The masked player bows his head

 

The spell has been broken on the crowd

As they now critique the fiction

The masked player pushes away backstage

 

Relieved of the visceral sadness

Gone from the immediate pain

The crowd’s melancholy is allayed

A smile turns the corners of their mouths

And they wish not the play’s tragedy

Upon their worst enemy

Glad the clever actor had simply worn a mask

The masked player leaves the theater

 

He does not remove his mask

In the darkened night

 

He does not remove his mask

Arriving at his dismal house

 

He does not remove his mask

Shuffling up the crumbling stairs

 

He does not remove his mask

Passing pictures of dead friends

 

He does not remove his mask

Staring disgustedly in the grimy mirror

 

He does not remove his mask

For there is no mask to remove

 

Without any discernible misery

The masked player shuffles off

 

1 Comment

  • Poetry allows expression of observations thoughts and feelings in a concise and beautiful way…
    this is such a difficult milieu! I appreciate your
    Clear and gorgeous writing very much, Ben

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