Who am I? I ask. I do, I ask this question here. I have asked it many times. I am waiting for an answer, it seems, much the way Didi and Gogo are waiting for Mr. Godot. I pause before the mirror. I look to the mirror. I look in the mirror. In? I thought I settled this in and on dichotomy? duality? My poetry tries to settle much I cannot settle in my head.
I see me, I assume, when I look at the mirror, toward the reflection, how am not like the celluloid heroes I watch on the screen? Why do I assume there is more veracity in the mirror than in, on, the videos watch? There’s that problem again, positional arrangements, fixed before . . . We do know that what is in the mirror is on, no? I am standing there in front of me, a reflection of me, there is not reflection without light, no vision of any kind, without light. To say I see means let there be light has taken hold. I am standing here in front of me, that him, that someone else who is me? Am I someone else; I am frequently someone else somewhere at some time.
Question after question, I string along so many questions. I look into my eyes I think; eyes the world full of sorrow enough. My wife has sad eyes too; her eyes are a lot like mine. Vanity, vanity, thou art not verity. I never appear too sad for me to watch. There is something Narcissistic in me. The mirror image. But like the Chimpanzee, I recognize myself. Narcissus does not. It’s never made clear just how long he watches himself. He does watch himself, not knowing it is himself. I watch me in the mirror too. I have often understood that I have to do more than look at me. But everything that appears in the mirror is on the mirror, the pane of glass a plane, again and again without gain. We speak of glass ceilings, but this is a glass wall, is it not. I know I recognize myself, so does the chimp–the dog barks at another dog never knowing it is himself he barks at.
Who answers me when I talk to me in the mirror, when I talk to myself? Hamlet is the father of modern consciousness. I have been over hearing myself since I was a child? My question is the question. I wonder more how I capture my conscience with these questions. I do sometimes wonder aloud about who I am, but not for long do I persist in this line. Montaigne often stood in postures such as the ones I pose; to pose is to posit is to put in place a posture, the posture itself molding me. In his trials, his tests, Montaigne poses as is necessary. When French school children take a small test, perhaps a quiz, it is an essai; to essay is to test one’s ideas, one’s thinking. I remember believing that I did not know what I thought until I wrote. When I talk to myself, I proudly announce that Montaigne had as well, does as well, past and present in writing are matters of tense, not time; tense is not time you must know. I talk to this Self of many selves, one self at a time? I’ve said this before. There is a larger ‘S’ self contained of many other selves. I do know that I am the same person over all time in my life, in every context with every person, every kind of person–not every person is the same as every other. It would be folly to believe that my selves do not contradict one another.
I am not the same person in the world in every context, with every person. My wife is not my mother, my mother not my supervisor, my supervisor not my colleague, my colleague not another co-worker, my co-worker not my neighbor, my neighbor not my doctor et cetera. How could all the selves i me be alike. I wear masks outside; I wear them inside too. This Self I talk about, is a capital ‘S’ self, a complex of many selves, a nexus; so, this who I am is not as important as when I am or who I am when. This capital ‘S’ Self is it made up of many other selves; simple enough said. But how many? Is it again an infinite potentiality; what are the probabilities?
Humans long for actuality. Only God gets to be actual all the time; He is pure actuality; He is no part potential. In my religion, it is He, although I have asked why God cannot be He, She and It if He is Father, Son and Holy Ghost. This Self inside, a many selves Self inside, what selves inside me . . . where would I find this Matroishka? The questions of who, of what, of when and where, are important, no? But then to question is to position an answer, or is that a response that puts, that places again–responses are in themselves not answers, I thought I settled this already. I lay out again each question with my responses; do answers differ so radically? Perhaps not in how we think of them today, but they should. Answers and responses are not one and the same; brandy and cognac, you know, brandy and cognac.