Babe Paley To Truman Capote

(inspired by the book “Swans of 5th Avenue” by Melanie Benjamin)

NovPAD Day 13 (Ekphrastic Poem – Artwork by Gustav Klimt – “Woman Gold Tears”)

to him every woman is a portrait
and i stood there at the altar
framing myself in gold.

i sold myself for his collection, 
for this mausoleum, this house of all my deaths.
the windows are glued up: autumn’s rain,
sticky grief and these cavernous cheeks
which don’t stop aching. it’s always here, 
this filigree pain that tracks metallic scars 
down porcelain dressed as skin. oh god 
help the eyes that cry these tears, my darkest mascara.
i am chained, god knows, and oh wretched fool! it was me 
who snapped the padlock and who threw away the keys.

layers of foundation built and built this face
the face of his ever happy wife.  don’t blame him
for his envy. he only knew the painting, 
not the girl swathed in daisied scarves and giggles
who danced beneath the archways of your smile.
how could he not?  i see it now,
the portrait that i gave him.  i see it now
as an etching scored with lies and gold.

it's you i miss today, 
and every day... but he won’t let you in.
don't blame him but look forward

and i'll see you in darkness, friend
where nothing matters but hearts and circles
and the beating of blood and daisies in our veins.

and may there be no gold in heaven.
may there be no gold in heaven.
amen

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