Not a painter

for my children

I.
Then.

I’ll tell you now what you want to know
only lay your head in my lap first
and I will brush my fingers through your hair
while I tell you the story of why we are
who we are and why you are who you are
born into a whirlwind, your mother
a bundle of cautions, and your father
still trying to wrap up his own childhood

I had always wanted to be a painter
or a rock-and-roll singer
someone like Janis Joplin, leaving
her heart on the floor every night
and I’d sing in the bathroom, with
a hairbrush for a microphone

II.
Now.

I wasn’t blessed with that talent
with a throat that could create a masterpiece
I’m no Kathleen Battle or Renée Fleming
I am not Billie Holiday
I am that songbird outside your window
that does not shut up when you first wake
the one that gets in the last word

Blessed with words in my mouth from day one
I’ve learned to give them away
give the world something back
that it gives to me every time I open a book
or turn on the radio
each time I sit in a concert hall
how often in the museum
do I sit down in awe

III.
Posterity.

We all are given something, and this is mine
to tell you about your Father in Heaven
though I am not worthy to truly paint Him
I have faith that I will see him when I am done here
I have a voice to express my love to you
fully and completely
and perhaps if I am really lucky
to spread some words across the land

I have gifts in hand
I must give them away

and if I am very lucky

and I pay attention to the wind
when it blows
I might just get some of them back

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7 thoughts on “Not a painter

  1. You have captured oceans of emotions in a few drops and that is what a poem is all about. The progression of outlook through the trickle and turns of life has been portrayed vividly. Your children would be proud.

    Like

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