paint on me a picture of how I treat you
tattoo me with a rendering you consider just.
would I deal only in grace,
if my own malice were otherwise to stain me always?
if I turned my back on the earth,
and on my back earth chronicled the betrayal,
how hard I would work,
to earn, instead, the hue of autumn's twilight
and the chilled salutations of winter.
if my words went to work to rot in you,
perhaps my eyes should soil.
if, from me,
your hopeful palms outstretched received,
then smear it on me.
and so i'd wear signs,
not critiques or the opinions of plugged-in millions,
but warnings and welcomes,
the garment consequence of my voice.
and so we could not be artists,
not lovers not activists,
unless we were masterpieces,
in our own skins.
farm the earth and neighbor and stranger
for ways to paint myself peaceful,
the quiet triumph of souls that give
becomes rebellion's graffiti in the cities of self-entitlement
looking outward I save myself from ugliness
I listen, the painting forms
what beauty we could be