Canvas

Leave a comment

September 24, 2014 by J_R_Heaney

Canvas

Born blank like a canvas

Not white,

Not black,

Nothing but opportunity.

You picked me up,

Picked up a brush,

Dipped me in paint

And started to work.

Did you know what you were doing?

Did you know when you brought me there,

Laid out coke,

Asked if I wanted a hit?

You were painting me black,

Dark,

Filling my canvas

With colors I could not erase.

You painted a life I could have

With desires, anger, rapturous highs

Where I belonged and was loved

Like a son.

When I picked up the brush

All I knew how to paint

Was dark, black, deep

So I painted.

When you put a knife in my hand

And told me to kill,

I did it

And I painted broad strokes as I went.

This poem is inspired by a piece from Crime and Punishment: Inside Views. The collection of stories authored by prison inmates, edited by Robert Johnson and Hans Toch, includes a piece that compares young individuals to blank canvases that can be influenced and ‘painted.’ Another story relates a young boy’s journeys with his uncle to Harlem to feed an ever-growing heroin addiction; the addiction, however, is initially fueled by the young boy’s desire to belong somewhere and feel loved. “Canvas” is meant to connect the dangerous lure of drugs and the sense of community they can occasionally promise to young individuals most likely to be molded and ‘painted.’ Influences on young men and women can prove extremely potent, and not all influences are positive.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: