You know when you are looking at a stranger and
both your eyes interlock and neither of you looks away
and then after a time you're not sure
exactly how long you been staring at them for.
Do we not look away because we like looking at them or is it
because they’re just allowing us to see ourselves.
 
I caught a glimpse of myself as a child the other day
Centre stage in a frame standing in a doorway
I was shocked by own anonymity 
Like I hadn’t imagined I could stand that still for that long
My posture was nothing my mother would be proud of
Still growing in to these arms and these pants I guess
Yeah, I wear hand me downs but I look fly
If you look close you can see my brother’s name in texter on the tag
If you look closer you can see the stitching is a fine cross hatching
like tiny cross hairs
In my family we always wear a target on our back
I walk in the size 10’s of a man I never knew 
In to a factory job that’s no longer there
Amongst the shattered glass of rock thrown windows
And the empty bus stops and abandoned news stands
In the shadows of foreclosed shop fronts and car lots
family businesses riddled by the bullets of bank repayments
That sky has gone dark from what?
From the smoke and the smog, from the fog of a collapsed economy
from the chimneys, car plants, exhaust fumes and junk
The skyline broken up by highways and temples of industry
The silence sings to me and I’m tempted to sing back
For a moment, I see myself through your eyes
Through the looking glass of futures past and
parts of what I can’t remember that I need to hide
Behind glass encased realities I race downstairs to meet the day
I don’t, let myself get down, or back down from anybody’s stare
I don’t want for what I don’t have… that much
But why do you keep on rubbing my face in the not having… that much
Why you keep rubbing my face in, the places you placed me in
That you don’t touch
Framed by faded things

Behind glass in a courtyard.

 

 

This poem is in response to the photograph, 'Self Portrait at 40 Holland Avenue' 
by LaToya Ruby Frazier and forms part of the Shadow Catchers exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales 2020.


Joelistics reads 'Framed by Faded Things'