Monday, 21 December 2015

Face paint

Part 1: The Green thing

What is it? People ask
Is it the Hulk, is it a turtle, is it Elphaba from Wicked?
I'm just green, I say. Just green.
This is not the face that knows what it is.
This is the face that could be anything.

Part 2: The tiger

This isn't the face that makes up stories,
Or the face that gets scared to talk to girls.
This is the brave face, the unashamed face,
The look at my stripes, they're so defined,
I'm not convinced by hiding face.
This is the brave face.

Part 3: The vampire

Spiky teeth are more terrifying sometimes, even if they're plastic.
They protrude from dry and swollen bright red lips under
Eyes that are the same as they always have been.
But they look darker in this light, like black glass.
This is the face of fear, the face of facing fear,
The face of turning away by painting fear.
This is the face of holding back tears and turning pupils glossy instead
This is the face of 2am walks in the dark.
This is not the face of fictional romance.

Part 4: The polar bear

This is the face of reality.
Its roar is louder than its vision.
Its almost see-through when it looks in the mirror.
It says I am your regret.
I am all the decisions you spent without thinking about consequences.
It recognises that it is peelable for the first time.
Everything - everything - is always lost, always covered up,
Apart from the eyes.
I see it in the eyes.
I am all the decisions you spent without caring about consequences.

Part 5: The superhero

At last there's a red star.
It's a mark. A forehead mark -
Like Wonder Woman's red star.
This is the face of a comic book geek
Who always preferred Marvel to DC,
But can't escape the charm of Wonder Woman.
A yellow streak, sneakers on bruised feet,
Walking high above the rooftops screaming I don't want to sleep
I am wonder woman, all my friends are wonder women,
all their friends are wonder women.
We are not impermanent. We can't be washed away.
We don't hide our truths behind layers of paint.
We make artwork, and it leaves its stains.
And when I wash yellow paint down the drain,
The character leaves,
But the strength it stays.

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