The Identity of Deceit

by Neesa Suncheuri

Is there a way to take off this mask?
It substitutes my personality with its own.
Forcing upon me its




This mask robs me of my identity,
And replaces me with its own.

So this is not me, when I slap your child.
This is not me, when I curse your family.
This is not me, when I pull a knife out.

I am innocent. I have never done anything wrong.

Yet the mask is enjoyable.
It tells me that I am powerful.
It tells me I’m a good father…

Why don’t you agree?

Why do you look at me like I am poison?

Why are you hateful against me, when you refuse to do what I say?

This is me, when I slap my child.
This is me, when I curse you, my family.
This is me, when I pull my knife out.

I am innocent, because I am always right.

This mask is handsome.
It gives me everything I want.
It makes me powerful.

I am a good father.

I am a loving husband.

I am a family man.

This is me, when my wife smiles.
This is me, when my children succeed.
This is me, when they respect my ways.

I am innocent, because I have humble pride.

But do not take my mask from me!
I am nothing without it!
Do not say otherwise!

I am honest!

I am justified!

I am always right!

How dare you, call me abusive!
How dare you, get in my way!
How dare you, demand I leave…

I am innocent, because I am lost.

I still have my mask,
But it is all I have left.
Nothing else remains.

No family,

No home,

No future…

All that remains is my name,

And the past memories it summons.
Did any of it happen? Did I even exist?

I am innocent, because I am nothing.


Neesa Suncheuri works as a mental health peer specialist at a housing agency in Queens, New York.  She is the founder of a Facebook discussion group for peer specialists and other recovery enthusiasts, entitled “What is Wellness?  A Mental Health Discussion Group.”  Much of her creative inspiration is rooted in her now-tamed schizophrenia.  She is a singer/songwriter, and performs in various venues in the city.  She writes poetry, maintains a blog and is currently working on a memoir.  Follow her on Twitter at @aquariumspeaks.

4 thoughts on “The Identity of Deceit”

  1. Neesa, you have painted an amazing portrait. I’m reminded of two things. One is the Twilight Zone episode, “The Masks” [Season 5] in which hideous masks designed to represent the wearers true personalities transform their faces to match. The other is a poem by Bertolt Brecht [English & Deutsch]

    ” On my wall hangs a Japanese carving,
    The mask of an evil demon, decorated with gold lacquer.
    Sympathetically I observe
    The swollen veins of the forehead, indicating
    What a strain it is to be evil.”

    Maske des Bösen

    “An meiner Wand hängt ein japanisches Holzwerk
    Maske eines bösen Dämons, bemalt mit Goldlack
    Mitfühlend sehe ich
    Die geschwollenen Stirnadern, andeutend
    Wie anstrengend es ist, böse zu sein.”


      1. Actually, it is the English that is the translation. Brecht was German. Due to his Communist leanings, he fled from Germany to The Soviet Union with the rise of Hitler, and from there to the US, disappointed with Stalin’s rule. His work most familiar to Americans is “The Three Penny Opera” (Die Dreigroschenoper) with he produced with composer Kurt Weill. This collection of his poems includes both the German originals and the English translations:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s