HomePoetryMostly Unseen

Mostly Unseen

She went through her life
mostly unseen.

Sure, people knew her name,
and could probably tell you what car she drove,
what teams she liked (the Eagles)
and her favorite band (also the Eagles).

But it was a rough sketch;
a granular copy roughly hewn in sand.
Even her husband of many years
had never asked
why she parted her hair on the left
even though it clearly wanted to part on the right
(to hide a scar,
long since healed,
from that time her brother
threw a Matchbox car at her head).

She used to feel saddened
that no one would ever peer deep
into her bottomless ribcage
and kiss her leviathans
and pet her behemoths
and tuck her clockwork goblins in at night.

So she took on that responsibility for herself.
Her life played out in full technicolor
profoundly appreciated
by a select audience
of one.

Sometimes in her a quiet moment,
her breath fogging circles on the mirror
as she carefully brushed each lash
with gooey black paint,
she’d be staring into her eye
and her inner beauty
would take her breath away.
But in that exact same moment,
grief would tumble in
for how only she cared to see
the rainforest catacombs
teeming with life inside her.
And only she bore witness
to the beauty of her life.

Like that time she told that joke
and no one heard her except that one guy
who didn’t laugh and looked at her weird.

It was a damn good joke.
A goddamn funny joke.
She’s a funny lady,
even if only she gets it sometimes.
She still cracks herself up with that joke.

Or that time she woke up with a whole song
playing in her head.
It had horns, and piano,
and that thumping tuba bass line.
Most amazing music she’d ever heard.
It stayed with her right through breakfast
til she heard something on the radio
and it went away.

It was a great song,
perfect maybe,
and no one will ever hear it but her.

Another time she went out for a swim alone
and the seagulls were resting like magnolias on a mirror,
and as she entered the water they parted to surround her
and she cried because it was so beautiful.
“You are kind,” they said silently in unison.
Well, not really. But sorta kinda in her mind they did.

Yeah, that was pure beauty,
and no one else saw it.
But she did.
It danced in her eyes and planted a bauble
in some sacred space
where it will remain forever.

Every person you ever see
walking down the street
has a whole universe inside of them
that no one else will probably ever
get to explore.
Twisting spire cities and thunder castles,
marble minarets and silver sand beaches,
pastel dragons with eyestalk heads,
firefly forests guarding sleeping wheel angels,
whole archives filed by worm-toothed gnomes
of memories and moments
only witnessed on their lonesome.

She is a lifetime of movies
that only she ever gets to watch.
A cup of tea, a set of hands,
her breath,
(in
out)
steam curling into shapes that only she will ever see,
her tongue running along the grooves of her teeth
in a way that only she will ever feel.
Her own little universe unto herself
quietly living
witnessed by one.

“Isn’t it crazy,”
she thinks to herself
while balancing on one foot
for no particular reason,
“that nature goes to all this trouble
for just one set of eyes?”

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Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out mypodcast, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal,buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

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Latest comments

  • I just said to my wife, ” what a lovely poem “. Thank you !

  • Very profound.

  • They say life sends many trials and tribulations our way and it is clear she has been distributing to you also much sadness but this is what produces the greatest love songs and the most inspiring stories and in your poems the triumph of joy and moments of happiness overcome and shine a light for others. Love this latest poem. May there be many more. The world needs to hear your voice although sometimes the softer side of you speaks far more than the dark and angry side. Keep up the good work Caitlin

  • I liked that part about the song playing in your head – that happens to me often. A lot of top 40 hits in that head of mine!!!

  • Please publish a book of poetry so I can buy it! X

  • breathtaking poem Caitlin. It speaks of me in my lifetime loneliness, and witnesses all the supreme things I alone have seen in life.

  • I love this poem. I think about this kind of thing a lot. Nice to know I’m not alone.

  • Beautifully sad.
    Sadly beautiful.

    • “Sad is happy for deep people.” — Sally Sparrow

  • Fantastic!!

  • I love your poems. Some more than others. This one’s great. Please continue.

  • There was an old man in a yurt
    He hadn’t even a shirt
    He’d beg for dime
    But most of the time
    His plate held only some dirt

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