For the days when your ego slaps itself as if its playing hambone,
remember: theres a name for the smell of rain on pavement.
And every photograph is like Stockholm Syndrome,
where subjects fall in love with their captors.
You are no victim. Thats why I still dont know whether youre photogenic.
All I ask is that you keep photographing my self-portraits,
so that I may love you through the way I view myself.
Because my ego is more like that potato clock from the science fair:
surprisingly electric, yet full of holes. My skin is pierced with nails,
but I am no Christ. Its just my job to keep time.
Thats why first place goes to the skateboarding rat.
The judges dont like me because I dont believe in gimmicks.
But when you look at mealligator clips and all
your eyes become blue ribbons, letting me know
that I have won and you intend to claim your prize.
Lets take a photo, I say.
You say no, that taking pictures will make us like everyone else.
I ask why it matters if we know were not.
You look down at the newspaper. In my mind, I say your name.
And when you look up from the politics section,
I snap a photo for good measure.
This plan seems completely doable until I realize
Ive never called you by your name.
You call me by mine, and attach it to sayings like
No one will ever bring half a smile to my face like you do
or Hi or How are you? or I love you.
Is this because theres only me or because
thereve been others besides me?
If I were to succeed in capturing you,
I imagine youd have red eyes in the photo.
Red ribbons to let me know Ill never top second place,
that there are other girls youve been inside of,
but you are my only. No contest.
And yet you ask if Ive awarded any other blue ribbons.
You dont believe me when I say, No.
I know you asked as a way to boost your ego,
but for the days when your ego slaps itself as if its playing hambone,
remember: theres a name for the smell of rain on pavement,
and that your wish to feel special should never be at my expense.
Table of Contents | Return to Poem Directory
FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 39 | Winter 2013