Troy Jollimore

Synecdoche, New York
July 19, 2019 Jollimore Troy

Synecdoche, New York

When you meet
the man
the man
you hired
to play you
hired to play “you” –


when you meet
the man
who’s been hired
to play
the man
who was hired
to play you –


it isn’t like looking
into a mirror—
one face seen, one constrained face
straining to be seen—


like a field
of dish antennae,
noses to the sky,
awaiting a message from home—


but it prompts the question,
just how good are you
in the role of you?
How convincing? How real?


Do people buy it,
the act, the day-in
day-out performance,
the ceaseless presentation


of self? Or do they see
through you, through to
the actor beneath,
the agent lurking


behind the screen,
the homunculus in
his cockpit, joystick
in hand, enjoying


the ride, inhabiting
the hell out of the role,
giving the performance
of his life?

Troy Jollimore’s books of poetry are Syllabus of Errors, At Lake Scugog, and Tom Thomson in Purgatory, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry in 2006.