Seven Days of Valentines: Poem “Second Avenue Picture-Boy”

A Young Couple Seated Near a Massive Rock Formation, Johann August Nahl II, 1752-1825, via the National Gallery of Art, open access

This is another poem I wrote during one of my first huge bursts of writing and revising as much of my own poetry as I could, this outpouring corresponding with a Creative Writing class I took in college to help satisfy my English minor. Not much of the stuff I wrote in this period is really any good, but I have been able to use some of it as a jumping off place for the works I am writing currently. The poem here is an example of that.

“Second Avenue Picture-Boy” was inspired by my growing relationship with the woman who would become my wife, whom I had met the same semester I took Creative Writing, and the poem was also inspired by a little art gallery in a town near where I grew up, Wayside Art Gallery in Macks Creek, Missouri. I am currently working to completely overhaul this poem and then submit it for publication elsewhere, but it will look quite different and will be named differently than it appears here.

“Second Avenue Picture-Boy”
By Ethan McGuire

Hey, boy, in that picture on the wall,
hanging in the gallery on Second Avenue.
How frustrating it must be to freeze in time
just before you meet your lover’s lips!
Jilted by Time, not by your sweetheart;
joy captured on a canvas and then cut short.

But don’t be sad (although you have no choice!) –
borrowing from happiness until you are destroyed –
be happy! Your girl will never leave you!
Many lovers would love to stare into each other’s eyes
morning until night forever, just like you two.
Most would give much to be you both!

Wipe those crying thoughts out of your mind.
What? “First Kiss” the caption says, though you
will never kiss her. Yet you’ll always be close!
Never leaving her, she never leaving you.
Now you are together, joined in paint.
No, I cannot share in your enthusiasm.

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