I was a fresh tube of paint, Indian Yellow,
in wait to experience the slick skin
of a gesso'd canvas—or paper'd
Poetry put to pictures, a visual gift
After hand-to-hand combat
With the muse. I had never known
A scent of turpentine permeating
The space of an atelier,
Unlike my friend, whose name
Was that of a man's, Michael,
Yet, she was feminine as they come.
Michael, who had fallen obsessively
Within the composition of one
Who would unwittingly become
My greatest mentor. Me, starry-eyed
And ignorant of the power of words
To loosen the cap of Love
in the wrong lifetime.
I felt the squeeze, an inchworm
Of syllables clawing for their debut
Against raw cartilage of my throat.
Cadmium tints bled a foreign landscape
from a genome of southern memory.
A provence'd affair of likeminded artists
Gathered 'round the café table
Not far from the remains of Chagall.
But, my tongue curled into an Autumn leaf—
Cracked and dry, void of utterance.
I drank the wine instead, tattooing
My lips a plum'd vino of crushed grape
And speckled glass dream.
Sixteen plus years after death
I come face-to-face with my own image
Staring out from the Universe. . .
I was a catalogued nebulae of sienna blue
Surrounded by a super nova of burnt orange,
Neon green, and powdered pink entwined
Within space. The low price of $120.00
American dollars adjacent to its cardboard spine.
I added it to my cart without thinking twice,
Or notifying your archived estate
I was she, the ghost-girl of portrait's past. . .
Suddenly I remembered everything—
'The Shelter from the Storm' gang
Rampant upon Saint Paul de Vence
Living youth as an arranged Charcuterie tray
Of the finest cuts of moment.
Wheatfield's and Van Gogh in one stroke
Of mental illness, a madness that infiltrates
Bloodletting among artists, changing
The dynamics of their insanity.
I glanced at the wall where your painting
Hangs over the headboard of my bed.
How sad I looked back then—
How comfortably numb, impervious to truth;
How happy it would be to have another
Image to distract family and friends
From the longing of such large, doleful eyes
That command their attention, even after so many years.
I leave them alone to ponder every time—
They've given up asking what was on my mind.
They'll remain as unaware as the generation to come;
As unaware as we were of when, exactly. . .
Michael had left the room.