Invisible Man [Poem]

Rick Belden asks, what will become of him, now that women look right through him as if he weren’t there at all?

what is to become of me

a man seen as

without value

in the brutal marketplaces

of money and love.


behind the curve

over the hill

sleeping in silence

gray and fading

mister invisible

one more blip

in a sea of blips.


I still pull my weight

I still pay my way

I still pay my taxes

I train my replacement.


I still see the women

but they don’t see me

they look right through me

they walk right through me.


loving and being loved

wanting and being wanted

a rush of desire

a shared breath

a place in

another’s eyes

another’s heart.

once worthy of such things

all long ago and far away

was that really me

or someone else I knew

at what point does a memory become

a fantasy

at what point does a man become

a phantom.


This was previously published on poetry, dreams and the body.

The invisible man by Rick Belden, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Read more on The Disposability of Men on The Good Life.

Image credit: flickrPrince/Flickr

About Rick Belden

Rick Belden is the author of Iron Man Family Outing: Poems about Transition into a More Conscious Manhood. His book is widely used in the United States and internationally by therapists, counselors, and men’s groups as an aid in the exploration of masculine psychology and men’s issues, and as a resource for men who grew up in dysfunctional, abusive, or neglectful family systems. His second book, Scapegoat’s Cross: Poems about Finding and Reclaiming the Lost Man Within, is currently awaiting publication. He lives in Austin, Texas.

More information, including excerpts from Rick’s books, is available at his website. His first book, "Iron Man Family Outing," is available here. You can follow Rick Belden on Facebook.


  1. Yeah, what are we if not of some specific use? I think that’s a universal question, but different people, men and women, may define “use” differently. Anyway, I enjoyed.

  2. Thanks, FlyingKal. I appreciate your comment and love the connection you made with the line you quoted from “The River”. That song, and Springsteen’s performance of it, is truly chilling, as real as it gets, and maybe the best thing he’s ever done.

    As I think you understand, my poem is about more than just not being seen by women. It is about being marginalized as a man, in both work and love, to the point where you begin to wonder if you even exist anymore, which is why I submitted it for the current series about male disposability.

    • FlyingKal says:

      Yes, I got that it was about overall marginalization, not only about not being seen by women.
      I thought it was beautifully written, and the comment was just the first thing to spring to my mind. I’m sorry if it came out kind of one-eyed.

      Hope to read more of your work soon.

      • Thanks, FlyingKal. Your comment was great and I could tell you understood what the poem was saying. My comment was more of a response to the tagline that appears under the photo and before the poem than to anything you wrote.

  3. Simply beautiful.

    The final part made me think of
    “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?”
    B. Springsteen (The River)

Speak Your Mind