Unauthorized self portrait

A poem by Philipe Vicente 

Past the grids of canvasses
where models in their fickle
poses of elucidation ellipse
the gallery, annulling stares restore
the rotund images of my brush.
For the sake of securing favor
above a mantel my agent reduces
my works to words, souvenirs
below the meandering of respect,
fashionable down to their titles.
He sees success as buying.
Makes sure the morass strokes
are explained away as serial numbers,
my appreciation for modern terms,
a guarantee my price is worth exploiting.
Of course I know being sold
is not a hot enough emblem
by which a portrait is mounted.
But what good is it to feed on posterity
when I can’t open up any miracles.
Yesterday the patron’s daughter rescued
me from my opinions by admiring
lecherously how my pungent hands
reduced her aspirations into a heap
she could neatly fold next to my bed.
In a mirror I see myself, a lone rock
nude, tangible in a sea of gold & meat,
being stepped over by amateurish stares,
pens & purses agape but not with appetite,
with a spot on their hallways I’ll never occupy.
They are sunrises I’ve abandoned,
roof beams I’ve neglected fortifying,
stars I thought cluttered the night sky,
who’ve I’ve given no credit for being the flags
I’ve been carrying up the decadent acropolis.
The auction goes on droning.
The lone bid comes from my agent
out of obligation, out of ruinous cheer.
The symmetry of famine overcomes me.
Who would have thought locusts social?

Philipe Vicente’s work has appeared in  Exquisite Corpse, Ceasura, Lightning Bell and Poesy.

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