Blue

A poem on depression

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Maybe the curtains
were always
just fucking blue,
no sadness, no metaphor,
no existential ennui
for childhood unfulfilled,
the loss of yet another
star-eyed dreamer
to a head down life
of paychecks and utility bills.

Maybe the curtains
never signified anything more
than thin blue cloth
meant to diffuse a light
that by itself
could be blinding,
a distraction from the story,
a narrative carefully constructed
inside walls and windows
and the quiet interior
of a semi-restless mind.

But as I stood and stared
at a canvas in the gallery,
this giant square block
painted a gradation of blue,
just blue, just the color
of bruises or a sky
where the clouds were removed
like a magician’s sheet
pulled from a table
without a single dish disturbed,

as I stood there studying it,
wondering to myself
why anyone would hang this
on their wall, why anyone
would consider this a work of art
when any kid in any art class
could slap some color
onto a gessoed sheet
and call it a day

suddenly I found myself weeping,
wiping embarrassed tears
with shaky hands and shoulders,
sobbing alone on the gallery floor
in Portland, Oregon,
because there were intricacies and layers
hidden beneath brush strokes
and subtle texture shifts
that gradually revealed themselves to me,

and no one could tell me why
this artist I would never meet
could understand me and know
the depths of my lonely pain,
the feelings I buried
instead of daring acknowledge,
that I was powerless,
that my grandfather had cancer,
that we were both dying
between these 2,000 miles
of tin can stretched string
into which neither of us had spoken
for many rusted years.