Monster’s Ball

A. R. Dugan


Men’s eyes were made to look;
and let them gaze.
Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

I can play
all these people

If I apply the clown one
with red polka dot cheeks

(this is only painted on)
I can entertain you

If I don
the phallic-nosed mask

like in Eyes Wide Shut
I can enter you

If I choose an old-school super hero
that only covers the places around my eyes

I can show me
to you

just a little bit
like good lingerie

which is what this is all
really about

How much do you need to know
to make a bad decision

How much don’t you need to know
to think things are going just fine

How long before you wear
Janus’s mask (your last)

You can see
both ways

in your mirror
oft in your hand

How long before we share
Two heads in one case

One visage
no face


A. R. Dugan has an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College and lives in Boston. He reads poetry for Ploughshares. His poetry can be seen or is forthcoming in a number of literary magazines and reviews, most recently Sweet, where his poem “Milk Thistle” was a contest finalist. Finishing Line Press will publish his chapbook, Call / Response, in March. He taught high school English in southeastern Massachusetts for nine years. A. R. currently teaches literature and writing at Emerson College and Wheaton College.