Fade to Gray


This photograph fades
Yellowing with age
Showing these scars
Like a blacklight
Rising above my soul
The edges start to blur
Blending the colors
Stretching at the seams
To maintain composure
This lens narrows
Drawing the viewer in
Eyeballs peeled to canvas
This vulnerability
Evident in the repose
Of these practiced poses
These funny coincidences
That flatten me down
And raise me up again
This man behind the camera
Engaged and engaging
Though it was so long ago
The people long since gone
Like the beaming light of day
That set them in relief
In their brilliant colors
In the memory captured by
This bleeding masterpiece
Before it fades to gray.


We don’t know our worst selves
Hidden behind shades and shadows
Blocked from the rays of the sun
Until we don’t even recognize them
Or we pretend that we’ve forgotten
The us in our mirror images
But life often exposes artifice
These days blazing with light
Shining deep into our corners
Where we can no longer hide
So we blame others for the shock
The dissonance between the pure evil
That we claim to never embrace
And the walls that were never solid
The ones that fell at provocation
That revealed us to ourselves
As embarrassing charlatans in repose
Waiting for the next shoe to drop
Or a reimagining of this cruel world
So that we can rewind to a time
When we were perfectly oblivious
Our skeletons dressed in finery
Trapped in closets of mediocrity
Waiting for the world to change
When what needed to change was us
These images we projected wilting
Like flowers in the summer sun
This complicated dance stalling
Until we stand still in the spotlight
From a world no longer waiting
For us to find ourselves
Because we already have.