Finding My Way on a Flat Canvas

brook house 3

By Stephen Linsteadt

after Robert Henri

I know when I’m lost
I scratch myself with the arrow of Eros
distilling the poison into singleness.

The Hindoo state of abandoning the material
leaving an outline which may be deciphered.
Traces of states more graceful flame up.

My every thought registers envy with each brush stroke.

Brushstrokes speak boldly or meagerly
sometimes selfish sometimes generous.

Lines carry messages magnifying all my uncertainties.
Marks appear to stand stiff until movement passes through them
tracing the outlines of my fears.

In my dreams I turn the canvas over
trace the residue a mirror image
an anti-self below the surface
as if repetition will matter

but the hounds have lost the scent
and my brushes have grown blurry.

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