Directions to the Artist Who Will Paint My Portrait

By Kaden Alexander Bell


Dear artist who will paint my portrait,

please do not make me look like my father.

My melancholy gaze may match his

but give me the proud smile of my mother instead.


I want my background to be a cacophony

of colors, a catastrophe of reds and yellows

and purples, and to show I’m a real man,

add a dash of pink.


Have my portrait standing ten feet tall.

(I’m serious, the canvas should be at least

a story tall.) I want to walk the ocean.

It may look ridiculous now, but fifty


years from now, I’ll show my grandkids the painting

and tell them their abuelo is a ten-foot tall man

who dabbles in walking on water.

They’ll call bullshit, but they’ll still show their friends.


Give me the exact same haircut I had at seventeen,

the one that all the girls complimented

and all the guys asked, “Ese, who cuts your hair?”

Make sure the lines shaved into the side of my head


are crisp, because what kind of vato would I be without them?

Finally, give me a beard. None of that patchy tío

Fernando shit either, I want that Drake circa “Hotline Bling”,

perfectly shaped, but not shaggy either.


–Kaden Alexander Bell is an 18-year old Running Start student at Highline College and a high school senior.

This entry was posted in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *