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Down the Rabbit Hole
Paul Kiritsis, PsyD Clinical Psychology, DPhil., MA (History)


"The Me Who May or May Not Be Me" by David Messineo

Paul Kiritsis - Friday, March 01, 2013

Dr. Paul Kiritsis presents the entry and a succinct biography for the second prize winner of the "Transpersonal Psychology" competition, David Messineo.


The Me Who May or May Not Be Me

From the fourth wall, looking in to three.
At right, a wall of solid wood horizontal planks,
about a foot wide, floor to ceiling. At center,
a square cut-out - no window, no glass,
lush green vegetation outside, filling the opening.
At left, same solid wood wall as at right.
These walls converge to a thatched roof,
rafters exposed. From one of them hangs
the silver metal ceiling fan,
four curved blades, slowly spinning.
The floor is worn, wide planks,
unvarnished, possibly previously painted white,
then stripped, sanded, or worn down with time.
At right, in the front third of the room,
sits a white painted dresser, six drawers high,
simple Shaker-style round drawer pulls,
two per rectangular drawer. At left,
facing the dresser, a single twin-sized mattress
sits upon a metal bedframe, white, its headboard
five or six vertical pipes, connected to the frame:
some dreams, a curved half-oval;
some dreams, a rounded-off square.
There is a white sheet over the mattress, tucked.
There is a pillow by the headboard, standard sized,
inside a plain white pillowcase.
And there on the bed is a man.

The Me Who May or May Not Be Me
has his arms crossed behind his head,
stares intently at the ceiling fan
as it slowly turns. Hair center parted,
dark brown, clean shaven, his silver dog tags
shining on a slight chain rising,
lowering with breathing. Lips pursed
in a Mona Lisa smile: self-satisfied,
content, intent yet calm, as if life were
under control, some important task completed.

The Me Who May or May Not Be Me
wears a white sleeveless shirt of ribbed cotton,
green and black camouflage pants,
black laced boots. His face is my face
while in my early twenties. He may be
my height, but a huge difference in build.
In my twenties, my arms, flexed,
measured twelve inches. This man is easily
a sixteen I'll never see in this lifetime.
Arms crossed behind the pillow, it's the first
obvious, jarring difference. When he turns,
his booted legs pull across to the left
as he raises and turns, stops in position,
hands gripping the mattress edge. Every dream,
the turn is the same, one fluid motion.
From the fourth wall, we view his back,
a V to W taper, a build never to be mine.
He lifts his head slightly, looks out the cutout
at the vegetation, and there, Scene one ends.


The outdoor deck is polished teak,
matching polished railing overlooking forest,
a mix of ferns and trees, some pine.
The Me Who May or May Not Be Me
walks in profile against the paneled wall,
perhaps a tea or conference house.
He is tiptoeing through this scene, as if
he's past his curfew, not wishing to be caught.
At the edge of the building, he glances up
to a circular window, perhaps a pulled shade,
perhaps a Japanese-style screen. There,
in silhouette, the shadow of a man,
hair pulled back in a bun, perhaps Han-shan,
the Chinese poet, conversing at a party.
Nondescript conversation filters from the room,
soundtrack to this evening's forest.
Still, the same dog tags. Still, the white shirt,
camouflage pants. Still and warm the night,
sky overloaded with stars, patches visible
through the forest canopy. Invariably,
past the building, glancing upward furtively,
at the railing, in profile, looking upward,
Scene two ends.

When a dream repeats itself, periodically,
across several years, one has to wonder.
When we dream, is our time asleep here
the wake time of our soul somewhere else?
Is there a planet populated by other humans
awake six to nine hours, asleep fifteen to eighteen?
Is this Idealized Me, someone I'm to become,
a life ending in a Mona Lisa smile?
Does someone on another world wake and wonder,
"Why do I keep thinking the phrase 'Suburban Gothic'?"

Sometimes, waking, I can almost feel
the light summer breeze wafting teakwood,
this house on some remote forested mountain.
Somehow, I know this is on a mountain.

How does one find a particular room
somewhere within our vast world?

Poet/publisher/performing artist David Messineo is #20 on a list of the 40 longest-serving independent literary magazine publishers and poetry editors in America who remain active today. Through his work with Sensations Magazine (, entering its 26th year in 2013, David was a rare three-consecutive-year winner in the national American Literary Magazine Awards (including First Place Awards in 1994 and 1996), and recipient of a 2009 New Jersey State Jefferson Award for Public Service. For his history research, he was awarded the 2011 Dwyer Award for Journalism in New Jersey History, from the Advocates of New Jersey History. David is the author of eight published poetry books - First Impressions, Suburban Gothic, A Taste of Italy, A Taste of Brazil, Restoration, Formal, The Search for the Sapphire Robe, and Historiopticon - and has been a feature poet in venues in 48 states, Europe, and South America, and hopes to add Australia to that list by the end of 2013. The work published here will appear in Historiopticon; to inquire how to order, use the "Contact" button at the Sensations Magazine website; to order his previous poetry collections, search under his name at

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