No ID

Without ID, there is no existence.

Without ID, there is no ‘be’ in a be sea. A sea without be is an empty vastness. A map of a beless sea is a measurement without dimension, an arrow without direction.

A number without value.

‘Nothing’ cannot be conceived— nothing is not born from nothing, nothing cannot be born from anything. The opposite of a vacuum with no dimensions is infinitely filled indeterminateness, which is not the same as a vacuum, but is no different. Divide by zero to prove 1=2.

A synonym for belessness is ________.

A person without ID is as invisible as a paper match’s smoke in a strong wind. People look through, look past. Who? The question cannot be answered. Can you distinguish one ant from another? One mathematical point? Something less than that? How many irrational numbers exist between zero and one? What is the difference in value between two neighboring irrational numbers? Two neighboring transcendental numbers?

Without ID, people are uncountable.

Without ID, there is no I, and there is no way to identify the body from dental records.

For those who cannot be identified, there is no origin, so there cannot be a destination or movement. No licenses, no work, no taxes to be paid.

ID is the key to society’s lock. ID opens eyes, allows recognition, and provides a path to somewhere. ID is how we know where on the map we are and where everyone else is.

Drop ID onto a person, and everyone else thinks they know who they are. The mask can be seen in a mirror, so it ‘exists’. They also know where they are— the Northeast side of Southwest Centerville, five miles up the road past the Jones cabin that burned down last year, by the old Bennett farm where Sam built the cheap condos.

If you leave your ID at home, you can slip through the world unnoticed, be a person of no account. Move between the masks, above the grid, and slide right in— a vampire of no reflection, who takes without giving, endlessly existing between the rhythmic beats of reality’s subtle drummer.

A mask is art, or artifice, or artificial.

A poet writes his story, his name is Forty, he sings of glory, but as he runs out of time, his mask falls away so he can no longer say the poet’s play; only empty pain remains as his life-stained mask slides down the drain.

Have a party to burn your diary; toast the loss of your past, and then go to the mall to lease three new masks. What is in style today? How much do you have to pay?

Hide your masks. Use them when nothing is not enough, when something is better than something else, or when anything will do.

Each day, wear one or all of your masks, or put me away; choose to be, or ________.

“No ID” was first published in the Fall 2015 spoken word issue of Arc Poetry Magazine.

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