Essay on Man
By: Matthew Battles | Categories: Poetry

Isthmus earth, our only unmade home,
Afloat between a circling sea of faith
And an unrevealing, energetic cold;
A stage that is a balcony as well.
A window silvered over, obscurely revealing
Us looking out upon ourselves
Or into the outer other that’s our own,
Self-estranged in our imprisoning identity.
Trapped in a comedy that escapes in sighs,
A punchline attired in glossy explanations;
Wielding the crook and the stagehand’s broom
And brandishing our bells at broken mirrors,
We’re subject to themes we would be the masters of,
The puppeteer and the sequined, grinning glove.

Categories: Poetry - Tags: , ,


Matthew Battles, Hilobrow's cofounder, has written about language, history, and the natural world for many publications. When he makes poems, he puts them here. A fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, he's also the author of Library, An Unquiet History.