A name is simply a thing to be called. It doesn’t define you. Doesn’t own you. Doesn’t always fit. If you want, you can hide behind it. Be just a name, a name with no face. Be a mask, a separator of lives. One name for a close relationship, another for those that are distant. Barely associates. A name can change over time. It isn’t a static thing, once decided, there forever. It is fluid, changing as often, or little, as you like.
We craft our portraits
Out of old exercise books
Cinema tickets, favourite books
Receipts, flyers, posters
and dog-eared photos taken with wind up cameras
Knowing that no matter how many
Parts we add,
We can never get close to
Who we really are.
Behind that sweet exterior,
painted, crafted, structured:
a persona loud and clear.
I can see you.
See how your eyes do not reflect your
see how your long sleeves lift
to reveal silver filigree
around your wrists.
But whenever anyone asks
how you are,
you tell them you couldn’t be more fulfilled.
Everyone’s social media blares out their happiness –
so you have to keep up,
Graphite under my nails,
smudges over my hands.
I’ve been sculpting with pencil
all to help understand
myself, and what my yellow-brick-road
is leading to, further than I can see,
it’s so far off that if I get there,
will I even be me?
I’ve seen many artists make portraits from coffee foam.
Shaping, contouring, scraping.
Letting the natural colour show underneath all that froth.
But what happens if the cup is spilt
and the liquid runs down the tablecloth
in a race to escape its confines?
Will it travel separately, several long tracks dispersing from everything they were before
yet leaving their mark on the cotton,
or will it pool together again to build up the image once more,
refined, certain, bold
to stand out
against the plain colour of its background?
How do you weave a web
if you don’t have a corner to claim as your own?
How do you spin the spindle
if there is no wheel or thread to be found?
How do you sing a note
when your voice is too worn to be heard?
And when do you have a chance
to raise your hand
when the forest is already crowded?
It’s said that every seven years,
our bodies change.
We shed who we were and take on new thread
to spin into a suit of current experiences
and timid goals.
We can’t lose our previous selves completely.
At a deep, stubborn level,
our essence never morphs.
It lies in wait
gathering parts it likes
and casting aside those it doesn’t,
so that eventually, when the time comes
to accept our truest nature,
we can be as comfortable in our own skin
as we were before the influence of others took hold.
We are a patchwork of our lives,
well worn in places,
freshly pressed in others
and often oddly put together.
But we are human.
We are flawed.
And that’s what makes us.