Originally published in The Birmingham Poetry Review, No. 19, 1998
Self Portrait with Palette
promotes the “Younger Years” run
at the MFA. Still gluey and wet,
the poster’s brown-eyed star
is given false eyelashes and a scar,
Plus a crude, gargantuan
breast dangling by his head.
Requisite moustache is next.
Weeks go by with nothing added.
The sad confidence in his eyes
survives the Halloween disguise;
plus, the suggestion of sex
never hurt a work of art.
Soon, however, he’s pulped
into a cubist portrait:
face an unreadable smear
and a rip where there once was an ear,
captioned “Mike Tyson did it.”
A constant parade pass by,
commuters whose indifferent
half-glances seem to signify
that there is little more to say.
The world changes from day to day
and all our younger years must end.