Paint Me, Dorian Gray

Dorian Gray, paint me
like your picture.

Use red,
but not on canvas…

red lipstick on a mirror,
instead.

My mirror pushes me…

Years ago, I pushed back,
right palm against the glass,
instant spiderweb-cracks
crawled from its center mass.

But, you should know

that your red will blend
perfectly with the
blood I left on its edges,
long dried and long ago.

Once you’ve drawn me,
I will hold my mirror-picture
dear. For when I look upon it,
I’ll know there’s everything to fear,

because Dorian painted
a shattered red mirror
of insanity.

Only a few small pieces
have fallen out over the years,
but I’m concerned that eventually,
the insane Dorian-Creature
will reach through the hole…

(Gods, he’s pulling!)

to pull me near.

Soon, maybe never, I’ll be
shredded by the glass, and lose
the reflection that is me.


© CGT, 2018.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, by the magnificent Oscar Wilde, was published in 1890.

8 Comments on “Paint Me, Dorian Gray

  1. This one actually continues to render me comment-less. Truly a masterpiece poem, Obol.

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    • Thank you, Elle. I’m happy you enjoyed it and I look forward to your feedback when you find it. 🙂

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  2. Wow! That’s one I re-read (sorry for messing up your views-to-likes).

    I think one of the most powerful details is a palm, rather than a fist, hitting the mirror, not striking but pushing back in defense. Rather than rage, it has a connotation of pure, deep, tragic, desperate, hurting frustration. Heart-breaking imagery of glass breaking.

    “Years ago…mass” are favorite lines for me because it sounds amazing and the imagery and symbolism of the cracks being spiders crawling out: there is ickiness dwelling inside.

    “Everything” to fear is also a game changer and really heightens the dark mood, to me suggesting that a physical picture counters invisible denial and is also physical evidence of supernatural, spell-like, demonic, monstrous, unjust, Evil-Fate play.

    The peak is “the insane Dorian-Creature will reach through the hole…” This is uncomfortable for me because it reminds me of the times I was at my absolute lowest, mentally, and how terrifying it is to lose control. I’ve felt that moment when you start to lose against the other within, glimpsed the worst possible scenario of a future in which you lose yourself completely, like yours portrayed here when you become no more by losing your reflection, like Dorian’s painting restoring after his death. Ugh. I don’t like to go here, but the fact that you did all that within this metaphor and symbolism is simply astonishing.

    Mirrors are rarely friends, and when they are, classic fairy tales and literature usually see to it that those gazers are punished. This poem you’ve crafted seems a classic, a very unique classic at a complex level that academia could endlessly analyze and debate. Your finest to date, in my opinion, for those stand-out qualities. Wilde would like it.

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    • You continually find things I didn’t know were there, and that’s awesome. I worked on this one more than most, and I’ll keep doing that, but I really enjoy reading what is seen in something I write. Usually, it’s more interesting than whatever I had in mind. That’s a good thing, though! If I can spin those mental gears, I’ll feel like I succeeded.

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      • I recall you saying your own reflection is boring company and encouraging your readers to share their own. I’m not a big sharer, but this IS a favorite, so I indulged us both.

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  3. OMG, I just heard you reciting this to a beat in my head. No pressure. (Make sure “I pushed back, right palm against the glass” is extra-memorable though.) 😁 🎙🎛🎚

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