In daily disguise as an average man
I keep my crazing under wraps.
This craquelure is not for the casual viewer.
I’ve never been able to explain what underlies it but now
this Average White Man-boy seeks closure.
Certainty. The ability to look the painting
I have made of myself straight in the face
and call it artifice. To see through
what my parents made of me
and what I made of myself,
point at something peeking through a crack
from under the surface, and say:
there I am, Average White Man-boy
through and through –or, look, there’s
the Mescalero, the Old One. There’s the Other
I was taught to believe was my canvas
and my truth. But what if,
under all the trappings of Average,
I am in fact pure Average and Privilege
and it runs all the way through? What if
everything I have been schooled to show
while holding back a darker, better truth
is in fact all I am? Where will I begin again?
Why would I bother?
Straight up staring now
into the mirror and it’s pure Art there
looking back and even I can’t tell
if I was ever a good point to be made.
My parents whispered to me every night
that inside I should never paint myself White.
Then they started making sure
I’d never show a bit of what made that true,
and when I got my hands on my own pigments
and brushes, I kept it right up. I put crazy work
into that and kept telling myself it was all for show
and now I look and cannot see a damn bit
of what I claimed I was. I painted myself
into one sharp corner, and now Average White
Man-boy can’t get out without slashing himself
to pieces and burning himself to ash.
It’s a choice, always a present choice.
How much of me is a lie, how much of me
is underlayment for the lie, how much am I willing
to live from, how much truth does the world require
of me? If I am to be honest, I trust
nothing of how I have existed until now.
Average White Man-boy. Pretty average picture.
Pretty much the same as all the others. Pretty much
as disposable as a sad-eyed clown
paint by numbers mess in a thrift store.
Buy me cheap for the novelty. I would.
Hang me in a guest bedroom. I would.
Laugh at me till
the novelty wears off
then toss me. I would.
It’s what anyone with any sense would do.