Something like Eight Hundred

by Rich Boucher

They want to be artists, these people.

They come around my house, all the time,
snapping pictures of me in artistic (I guess) almost-focus
as I haul my garbage bags like corpses down my driveway,
and those pictures get hung up on the walls
of that museum in the city downtown,
which I guess for someone is great,
but those stolen glimpses of me can’t be art.
I’m only one guy, one regular-sized regular guy;
I got no idea what these people are doing.

They steal my fingerprints
right off the handle on the door of my car
and negative-print them onto transparencies,
and then they project them onto a wall
at some club somewhere while some band is playing;
these people are sleeping in a tent
right outside of my bedroom window
pretty much every night of the god-damned week,
and they make field recordings of my snoring,
and then they make songs out of those recordings
and release them with all my breaths for percussion
to all the local college radio stations
and I have to hear my own stupid snoring
when I’m changing the station in my car
but I never told them they could do that!

I ask them, repeatedly, not to do these things
but they tell me that I “inspire” them,
that I have no idea how “interesting” I am,
that even the little things I do everyday
are worthy of a drawing, or a sketch, or a song.

I don’t want to inspire anybody.

What do I wish for?

I wish those kids would stop coming around
to cover me up with papier-mâché;
I don’t even know why they picked me.
Just last week I found out
that they shot something like eight hundred,
maybe a thousand hours of footage,
just of me washing my dishes,
just of me walking down the hallway
in my deep, mummified sleep
listing side to half-awake side
in the direction of the teakettle’s monastic drone,
scratching my balls through my pajamas
in the late weekend mornings;
it’s not a good feeling to be told
by a friend on the phone
that there’s a new statue of your head
at an art gallery somewhere;
it’s an even stranger not good feeling
to go to that gallery and check out
that painted clay version of your own head up close
on top of a wooden pedestal with a little white card under it,
to look into those dotless, doppelgänger eyes,
to hear strangers whisper to each other
how much they like your forehead,
how they really love the look in your eyes,
how intensely you seem to stare.

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