Archive for the ‘Invisible Man’ Tag

I Am The Only One That Is Invisible   5 comments

Lummi & MCLACTom Turner — Image by kenne

The poem “Invisible Man” by Pablo Neruda gets inside me, stirring my very being, mixing the past, present, and images of the future. The poem has short lines making it seem longer than it is. Even so, I’m sharing some of Neruda’s powerful lines, which I have read, reread contemplating thoughts of my brother, Tom, and existential invisibility. 

“they fire against the people, 

which is to say, 

against poetry, 

but my brother 

the poet 

was in love, 

or was suffering 

because all his emotion 

is for the sea, 

he loves remote ports 

for their names, 

and he writes about oceans 

he doesn’t know, 

when life is as full 

as an ear of corn with grain 

he passes by, never knowing 

how to harvest it, 

he rides the waves 

without ever touching land, 

and, occasionally, 

he is profoundly moved 

and melancholy, 

he is too big 

to fit inside his skin, 

he gets tangled and untangles himself, 

he declares he is maudit

with great difficulty, he carries the cross 

of darkness, 

he believes that he is different from 

anyone else in the world, 

he eats bread every day 

but he’s never seen a 


or gone to a meeting 

of a baker’s union, 

and so my poor brother 

is deliberately dark, 

he twists and writhes 

and finds himself 



that’s the word, 

I am no better 

than my brother, 

but I smile, 

because when I walk through the streets 

—the only one who does not exist— 

life flows around me 

like rivers, 

I am the only one 

who is invisible, 

no mysterious shadows, 

no gloom and darkness, 

everyone speaks to me, 

everyone wants to tell me things, 

to talk about their relatives, 

their misery and 

their joy, 

everyone passes by, and everyone 

tells me something, 

look at all the things they do!”

— from Invisible Man by Pablo Neruda

(Click here to read the complete poem.)

“Where do you go when you’ve already gone?”

— from Tom Turner’s notes

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