Dorian’s Palette

042414Made of failure,
constructed of disappointment,
she is set down before Beautiful
with her empty bowl
and her crushed being.

Twisted and untruthful,
plank-eyed and a great arm for stone throwing,
she is brought to Beautiful
and placed on her mat,
given her bowl.

Her portrait is a glossy masterpiece
in Vermillion
in Prussian Blue.
The brushstrokes are masterful–
a rich blending of evil
of intention
of all the good colors.

She holds out her bowl
to take up the collection,
the things she needs from others
to cover up her own contributions.

All her betrayals
and every dead thing
she’s made or believed
go into this bowl
as she sits on her mat.

At night she brings out her mortar and pestle.
She brings out the linseed oil.
She grinds the contents of her bowl into
lovely pigments
to correct her portrait.

But each morning she must
be carried out again.
Unable to stand,
she is set down.
She holds out her bowl.

Until she hears,
Look at me.

And she does.
Then.
Beautiful looks at her.
Beautiful takes her hand and
pulls her up.
Beautiful is where she’s always been.

Standing up,
her knife is no longer flat and dull,
no longer for mixing facade.
With the new blade
she can destroy her portrait.

When they ask her what has happened,
she will say,
I looked up. It is Beautiful.

Watch Repair

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I get tired.
I sleep on the job.
I look around
but I do not watch.
I love the trees–
how they dwell in their grassy silent chambers.
And I hate wandering
on the edge of those gardens of knowing
the terror is only just ahead–
but not yet.
I would feel safer in a tower,
walled off and lifted high above the danger.
But I want to be like the trees,
brave and standing and rooted
yet reaching.
I want to be
not far.
A tree is tall.
A tower is tall.
But even if I climb to such papery or stony heights
I do not watch.
Instead,
I kiss you.
I kill you.
I fall asleep in the cool breeze
and in my heavy worries.
I offer you my small things
but I know you don’t really need them.
I’ve seen many towers standing alone.
They offer good vantage points.
They encourage pause.
I think a tree must not like to be alone.
However tall and standing and rooted,
a tree must grow taller with a fellow.
You want to be with me,
want to bring me to where you are
and to see me awake.
Because while I was sleeping,
You were saving me.

gethsemane

Sword

From under the stones-
in a flurry of sticks-
the weapon bursts outward.
The weapon is singing a song.
The mission has a soundtrack.
Lists, signposts, a return address:
they mark the map I follow.
I want to hold the weapon–
for protection
for promise
for prosperity.
It seems to have new batteries though.
The weapon goes out into the fray.
I follow at a distance
out of respect
and safety.
But the song it sings is catchy.
I need to hold the weapon–
because of danger
because of defeat
because of death.
I feel disgrace when I lose sight of its shadow
and am left only humming the tune I’ve learned.
My hands want to hold the weapon.
But then I look around the field
where I’ve been in the fray
and realize the weapon has been holding me.