I wake up every morning, and in spite of everything that has happened to me, I still see the world as a beautiful remarkable place. To me, that is the best thing I could ever do. That is my great achievement.

So someone is looking at a picture of me, I do not remember when it was taken. The eyes in that picture are so solemn. Do they see that part of me? The part that sees so much beauty and potential for goodness? Or do they see the evening side of me, which was downtrodden and jaded by the ugliness that covered up the beauty for a little while?

In the picture, there is a backdrop of a man-made river, and some swans. I am sitting underneath a willow tree. It is a close-up. Someone felt compelled to take it, I don't know why. Perhaps they were on the last picture to finish up the film? It doesn't matter, really, the point is, someone found this picture in a big box full of other ones. And they are peering at the picture intently. They are gazing into my photograph eyes. They are burning the image in their mind.

I would like to tap them on the shoulder, ask them what they are seeing. I would like to tell them that I am not always so sad as I seem in there. I would like to remind them that we all of us have those times in our lives where the world doesn't make as much sense and it's hard to remember how beautiful it is to live. To really live.

The other pictures in the box are being ignored. Wouldn't they rather look at this one of my children, happy and smiling? Or this one, from a trip to Portugal so many years ago? How about this one, a photo of someone I can't even remember anymore? See their silly costume? It was Halloween. No. None of these seem to matter, and all but this one picture of me falls from that person's hands.

Photographic eyes burn back at one who dares to stare. You can see the years and years piling on, one thing and then another, and still the eyes burn fire. They live. They dare you to defy this, that in spite of it all, those eyes refuse to let the light in them die.

Someone looking at a picture of me, sighs thoughtfully and puts it away. They look up into a mirror. The someone is me.

thank you


It felt like I was watching my own wake

A small half circle
gathered around my photos

A single kiosk in a student Art fair

I was off to the side- wearing a tie
and a jacket
not looking at all like the images

Black and white,
semi-clothed,
bemused.

It felt like I was drowning in your wake

A small puddle in a massive sea
gathering 'round my ankles
in a single act of supplication

I was lost in shadow
and ignored

a single floating speck
in a moonlit pool
not looking like anything at all
black and blue
half-submerged
naked.




Thanks (again) to Etouffee - we just gots to stop meetin' like this

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