You may see my spots as scatteredPHANTASM
patches of dark merely punctuating.
But I know them merged into a tattered
cloak, enveloping and suffocating.

You may see my coarse and fleshy lumps
as merely clusters of excess tissue
until one sweetly human gesture stumps
you: my desperate move to kiss you.
Thus I know them as negation,
a zero in the critical equation
by which to calculate my reality,
an absence replacing personality.

You may see my face as residence
of tumors, or challenge to a noble task,
an unsolicited testament of courage.
But I want to hide, to place a distance
between us, or interpose a gilded mask,
or, better yet, deny or even purge
my face, presenting you a void, simply
the final denial of who I am or could be.

I am phantasmagoria, a specter merely,
that we both some way deny or recant.
Thus, I stand before you vague and clearly,
cloaked and masked and vacant.

-Vincent M. Riccardi