"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff



Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Fading Portrait



(For my friend P. You have always been so vibrant and alive to me. I will remind you every chance I get.)



When did my colors start to fade?
The first time you overlooked my dress
and the care I took to turn you on, only you weren’t
and aren’t, and can you believe I still try?

When did my paint peel, like a weathered door
that you no longer cared to enter
and I, the gauze ghost behind a pane of cobwebs
stuck between life and death?

When did I become an outline of a woman
all women, any woman
and too soon thereafter, just a frame
so long without my nuance
that I lost my face?

Was it the first time my desire tired you?
Was it the last time you took my energy and rolled your eyes with it
or when you tamped this rambunctious spirit down
with the toe of your sensible work boot?

Honey, draw my portrait.
I have so long forgotten the space between my eyes
and how you once traveled the distance.
Were my lips full, or just swollen with kisses
that once came without request?
I am fading, and who will conjure the me you met?
Who will remind me that I was once a masterpiece
screaming with saturated color,
excitement, and possibility…like a traveling van to Woodstock?
(you hitched a ride… don’t you remember? You stuck out your thumb and said “take me with you.” And I did.)

Sweetheart, do not age me so soon.
Do not pull me into a gray cinched bun
with these tresses still so unwilling to be tamed.
We are not old.
I am not done.
I cannot be the empty frame you just look through
to the chair, where the newspaper holds your eye
and the television, your ear.

Paint me with passion
Leave nothing to memory.
I need to see it all.
Do you remember?
Show me
PLEASE show me
before the mirror has no face.


37 comments:

  1. I don't know if it's the Phil Collins in the background mixing with this poem or not but some serious tears going on.

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    1. Ah Ben, you gentle soul. My friend is hurting. I hurt for her. You hurt through me. It passes on, as well as our joys, eh?

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  2. Christ says to lay your hurt and burdens at the alter, he's already bore the pain for us all. He will bring back your smile to you, in all honesty, it really is that easy.

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    1. I hope He does for her. It should be that easy, but it rarely is. We are human afterall.

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  3. Ah isn't it interesting how we allow ourselves to see youth as the masterpiece rather than the rough draft that it truly is...the face as it develops, as the lines show themselves, now That is the start of a masterpiece. I am falling in love at 38,as my body crashes into a new chapter ...yet he makes me feel more beautiful now than the others did when i had washboard abs and perkier ta-tas ;)

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    1. Brilliant point. I suppose that's why my photography has taken a towards all the broken down, abandoned things of the world. I see beauty. Rust is the most beautiful color, and wrinkles are human rust. Sometimes I wonder if when we are young and unblemished, it somehow serves as a deflection. What we really are takes a back seat to what we look like. It's unfortunate. Beauty comes from the inside. The dust jacket is always lost long before the book. But this post is really about something far beyond not finding age beautiful. It is about not being seen or reflected. It can happen at any age.

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  4. there is so much wisdom in this entire post. one of your best-est poems and what great comments.

    you've made the point beautifully. still, i have to admit that to be passionately longed for, one more time, sounds pretty damn good.

    :^)

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    1. Best-est :) Thank you.

      I think everyone wants to be longed for. I am hearing more and more about the importance of being desired. It is a key element in any relationship and not to be trivialized as needy or prideful, but fundamental.

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    2. AnonymousMay 14, 2012

      Well said and brilliantly written
      We all (ALL) want, need, desire, derserve to be wanted, needed, desired.
      Beautiful written painting.
      Rabbit

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    3. I could see the parallels writing this, yet also the divergent lines. It was not written without a heavy heart and acknowledgement to my own inability to succeed at the fundamentals. It seems almost global with me, eh Rabbit? I cannot spell, I cannot find Asia on a map, I cannot do rudimentary algebra, among so many other basics :) Thank you for reading.

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  5. you are brilliant men seek beauty because they can't face their end. I am 53 and even though I am in a very painful thing that I have to stop, I am 53 and I deserve my age and I want to get older and I don't care that suddenly it's all over, I hurt enough for a lifetime and I say, enough...enough I am woman and this is who I am at 53, and I don't want to look younger, I don't care If I'm desired or not, 'cause when I was a beauty every men wanted me, and none knew just how much beautiful I am inside, now it doesn't matter anymore, I've made mistakes, but I will never again feel less of a woman because of a man.

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    1. 53 years young. I used to think 50 was ANCIENT...until I got there. You sound strong and determined and sure of yourself Lorraine. Keep it up!

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  6. Jesus, but you have written my soul here. I know the feeling of slowly becoming invisible. It rips your heart out when it happens. I bow to your talent here, my precious Annie. You are such a fine writer. (Keep reading....tee-hee). I love you, my BFF!! xo

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    1. Many women, and I'm sure as many men, feel this way. If we could see hearts, the streets would be strewn with their pieces. You are not invisible to me Marion. I see you very much the bold and beautiful woman that you are. Love your heart my Marion.

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  7. This is wonderful writing, and anyone of us getting older who are truthful to ourselves can relate. I am convinced though that if we didn’t view or could ignore what is put forth in movies, magazines, the tube, etc., and stopped judging appearances on the bases of such media, and the idiots promoting, the impact would be far less. Beauty doesn’t really fade. Only preconceived concepts of what beauty is, blinds to many and hurts those who have lost confidence, based mostly on age. I have drawn and painted too many older beautiful people to think or see otherwise.

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    1. To be inside your head Anthony, as you paint these living testimonies to time. I would certainly enjoy it if you were to do a stream of consciousness type post as you painted. I am reminded of a quote from the movie Calendar Girls...an absolute favorite! ""The flowers of Yorkshire are like the women of Yorkshire. Every stage of their growth has its own beauty, but the last phase is always the most glorious."

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  8. Annie we seem to be experiencing the very same thing. My dear childhood friend is hurting right now so I spent some time with her. I am trying to put all the pieces together of when she was full of life and when she gave into her fears and lives her life behind a closed door. She is young still and I'm trying to show her that, I'm just not sure if I can convince her not to give up.

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    1. Give her music. Sing it loudly and make her dance again. Music is so healing, and you will have just the melody to a song she once sang.

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  9. I will colour you young and blue ,fiery and red,charmed and orange,tired and black,reborn and white..all at once..because you never aged you only changed in the perspective of people ...we will die..but will we know.. ??

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  10. This is such a beautiful poem. I can see your heart beat through it and the pain you wish you could fix. It's hard, sitting with others who are in pain. Music does help, I believe.

    Music and dancing your cares away.

    I hope things get better soon for your friend.

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    1. I do too. It is a difficult place for her, a battle. She really is an amazing woman! She is actually more self confident than I am. She knows she is colorful and life experienced have only made the colors more brilliant, so she sees him as color blind. That is a healthy outlook that comes from self love. No less difficult though.

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  11. annie, very sweetly written. i can't imagine for one moment that you are not seen, or at least i can't imagine that if this is the case the man has any eyes at all.

    xo
    erin

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    1. The woman in this poem is not me. I wrote it based on some conversations with a friends. I tried to get inside her struggle from my own heart. Such writing builds my understanding and empathy and deepens my awareness. Thank you Erin : )

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  12. I loved your poem and all the ensuing comments. Beauty morphs with age. It's best appreciated by other faded beauties...who see that Beauty becomes more beautiful given time enough.

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    1. Oh gosh yes. Best appreciated by others who have weathered some time!

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  13. annie, in my comments above, how come my name is the only one in green? is it on your screen too? because i take it as a verdant sign, green being my favorite color and green being the growth of the season.

    xo
    kj

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    1. I'm on my phone, and you aren't green here. I keep thinking of Kermit : )

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  14. Annie, I hope you believe your friends here. You really have improved. This is a fine poem. Really, no one writes better than this, only differently. I don't know if it is your friend or me or someone else. I would like it if it wasn't you, not your life in such pain, so I pray your poem is empathy.

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    1. The woman is not me.

      Ive come a long way from when I started blogging. I remember the day I said I was going to take a stab at poetry. It wasn't good, but I sure wanted it to be. You and others have been an inspiration and conduit into a medium and outlet that has been important to me. I hope I can keep improving : ) although i dont have nearly the time for it as i once did. Thank you Christopher.

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    2. The woman is not me.

      Ive come a long way from when I started blogging. I remember the day I said I was going to take a stab at poetry. It wasn't good, but I sure wanted it to be. You and others have been an inspiration and conduit into a medium and outlet that has been important to me. I hope I can keep improving : ) although i dont have nearly the time for it as i once did. Thank you Christopher.

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  15. This is so beautiful. Took my breath away.

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    1. Thanks Mom! I think you might be biased :)

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  16. As so many others have expressed, this is a most beautiful one by you. Tears well up and want to fall for your friend, for anyone who feels discarded by a dimmed view due to age, boredom of another from lack of perspective, lack of grace and humility. What a heartfelt tribute to your friend who hurts - thank you for expressing your & her heart, your own grasp and empathy. Did you share it directly with her, or did she read it at all? - DpH

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    1. I sent it to her first and asked if I could use a photo I had taken of her. What I haven't been able to get across is that this is not about age. This is not about being female. It can happen to anyone at any time. But I understand that aging and correlative beauty are something that resonates with people...obviously. But I have failed to successfully translate what I heard her say, which is that she feels overlooked, under appreciated, and that her wants and needs are being held back by someone who would rather take a passive role in his life, and hers. Something like that. And even that might not be right. I just know that it is not about age. Not this time. It just so happens they are in mid-life. Thank you!

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  17. What a powerful picture you have painted. In just the first few lines I was already devastated, stopped in my tracks by that feeling, that fading away from view. Beautifully written!

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  18. What beautiful words to write for a friend!

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  19. There was a time in my life when the words would fit me. Life stages!
    I am now in a place where I am o k with the the lines in my face (most of them caused by laughing and smiling) . I have settled in to my presence and enjoy the benefits of senior discounts and advantages .
    your poem is a song

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Thank you for listening.