susan smith nash



If we choose to interpret at all, we have no choice

but to posit a person whose communicative acts

we are interpreting.  -- Daniel Dennett




I tore off my own skin

I clawed the air

I wanted to see you so badly

but of course no one saw --


distance is the perfect veil

thicker than cloth, lighter than air


you do not see me as I am

the veil of distance is my armor

that's the obvious one

but consider it also a screen

upon which each person is trained to project

the appropriate fantasy, past, present, future


the veil can make you a slave

of someone else's narcissism


I wear a veil that no one perceives but me;

here at my computer

my small, private walled-in world

anyone can think they possess me

distance is the perfect veil

more complex and depthful than the mirror

it protects, yet enslaves me

the colors of the computer screen

go beyond the tints of dye and cloth

my loneliness floats free

beyond the limits of flesh & skin


I tore off my own skin

trying to peel off my veil

but the distance wouldn't budge

the armor remained intact, and in my walled little world

the images you created of me, the words flickering across the screen

eroticized the mystery of what might lie underneath;


the veil proposes

there is a difference between surface and beneath

and the veil is a boundary to cross in one's quest for unity


but distance is simply armor

the value is all on the surface

I will fool you thinking my core will give you pleasure


Don't be fooled by the essential lie of the veil:

remember, what you want is within you

and not within me


I tore off my own skin

I'm still clawing at the various veils

choking on silk & other confusing armors;

you can see me bleeding on the surface; you can see

the flawed core that was so much worse than the packaging --

I risk it all in hopes of making true contact;

the pain is cold & naked -- my skin shredded

I lie here shivering and exhausted, from

peeling the veil from around my soul


-- January 23, 2000