Poem: Other People’s Paint

Other People’s Paint

It is art, this wooden block, thinly painted
so you can still see the grain,
more whitewash than paint,
placed, you are sure, just so on the floor.
Not high enough you can sit on it,
a little unsettling in a place where the other paintings
are lined just so in neat rows on the wall.

It makes you think, even before you read the label.
What might it represent? What does it make me feel?
Is there a story I should know? What am I missing?
What am I making up in the intersection
of artist and voyeur?

Because that is what we do.
Fill vacuums with stories. Our stories
filling the empty spaces until they paint
an art all of their own, a make-believe
that becomes more fact than fact
and knowing it or not we all walk around
covered in other people’s paint.

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