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A Myriad of Subtleties

by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle



In the instance of encounter

I am taken for the stranger

the unknown interloper


Between two worlds

I am the interlocutor

indivisible inextricable


I am the duality—

seen and unseen

dark and light


I am love and hate

the top and the bottom

the ocean and the land


two sides of a mountain

the sun and the moon

the day and the night


I am the diaspora

Everywhere all the time

the truth-speaking mouth the all-seeing eye


I emerge from the hidden quarters

claiming my rightful place

in the lore of all time

In the parade of the Mummers

in the skits of Pierrot

in the Commedia dell’ Arte


I am the face of the harlequin

I am the drama and the comedy

I am the truth and the fiction


An unbroken line

through the masquerade of time

The history and the mystery


Down from Egypt, out of Africa

I am the progenitor of Mardi Gras

I am the Voodoo and the Who Dat


Come closer, look into my eyes

I am the master of guise

I am the yin and the yang


Fear me love me

Know that I am essential

I am all I am none


Look into the mirror



Written in response to the photo “Zulu Masker, Mardi Gras, 2006” by Nell Campbell.


Please join us December 8, 4-6 p.m. at the Book Den, 15 E. Anapamu St., for a reading of poetry from Volume 4 of the Santa Barbara Literary Journal, for which Sojourner will be reading.


Sojourner Kincaid Rolle has lived and written in Santa Barbara for nearly 35 years. She is a poet, playwright, and all-around community gad-a-bout. Her published books include Common Ancestry, Black Street, and The Mellow Yellow Global Umbrella. She served a two-year term as Santa Barbara’s sixth Poet Laureate (2015-2017).

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