telling of great and lonely things,
colors screaming, crying,
bright vibrant agonies -
the artist is furiously at work.
The subject fidgets,
uncomfortable with so much scrutiny-
'Who are you on the inside?
My canvas would really like to know-'
but the artist says nothing,
frowns through the cloud
of an unborn masterpiece,
yet unattainable and just out of reach,
Is it the shadow here that will arouse emotion?
Is it the set gaze, contrived for your viewing pleasure,
that overcompensates for the weakness of the soul?
The artist takes a labored, ragged breath,
stands back and squints.
He stares at the canvas,
then at the subject,
unabashedly staring right through to his soul
with eyes that strip away the facade,
revealing all the dark mysteries of the subject's untold depths.
Can I capture the one defining moment,
when the guard is down and all truths are unobstructed by light of day,
caricature, or conformity-
When he will be most real, most honest?
The subject shifts and drops his gaze,
uncomfortable with so much nakedness.
The final product,
a symphony of pain and age,
eyes that are haunted by the brilliance of youth,
a mouth that is downturned with the weight of every day
It is truth in words without words,
a picture not of the man,
but a picture of the soul.