I Think of You In That Final Moment: A Poem to Van Gogh

Dutchman- you, with the orange beard
standing with your palette and brush
like a supplicating Jesus; a God
in a golden field.

Do you see them?
A murder of crows flying
out of thick brushstrokes of wheat
raining dark feathers, teardrops,
soaking your sunflowers.

Lift your eyes, profit painter,
you’re a bleeding heart, literally, bleeding
red drops whipped and splattered,
like a Pollock painting.

No money for starry nights spent in night cafes;
so lonely, man, so alone, and look at you
waking early to watch the harvest women,
bending their round bodies
over rows of crimson and purple grapes.

There’s madness in your trees, in your lavender lilies, in
your wounded ear. Madness!
Where’s your love? I’ll tell you:
It’s there relentlessly crying
in empty rooms. Puddles of ink.

Poor lonely son, more wanted in death
than life. I think of you in that last moment;
I’ve sat with you.
You, a single golden wheat,
smoke curling at your heart,
vermillion dripping at your feet.

The Last Painting

This is still an early draft of a poem I’m working on. I can’t seem to grasp what I’m trying to capture or how to say what I want. The poem at this point is visually interesting and uses many references to actual paintings, but there is a disconnect in this version. Who is talking and who are they talking to and why? These are the questions I still have around this poem. Why is it so important to write it, why not throw it out and move onto something else? Another question.

Fixed like a Japanese etching; He sat alone in his blue
painted room. In the smallest corner, a yellow bed frame.
one pale chair turned out waiting for a guest- any guest
perhaps another painter?
He wrote letters: “Dear brother, dear sister
they do not see what I see.
They do not see what I am showing them.”

In the wheat field crows
gathered around the lonely scarecrow.
Dutch, with an orange beard
a palette in one hand, a brush in the other
supplicating in a blue smock.

He painted thick strokes of yellow wheat.
Ocean blue sky, and a road
long, bending, and coming to an end.
Where are they going?
They had sat on his easel and cawed at his brushstroke.
They scatter like dark clouds spreading news.
The gunshot? Did he paint the expectation of sound?

They flew.
They are
still flying,
all of them,
from painting
to painting-

Over his yellow fields of golden sunflowers;
swirling starry nights;
past the harvest women
and their round full bodies bent
over rows of crimson and purple grapes.
Perched atop his maddened trees
soared over lavender lilies, and
 picked through tactile gardens.

Once the shot was fired they 
drank in his night cafes.
Poured one out for the fallen artist.
Triste! Triste! Caw! Caw!
A TOAST to an artist! CAW!
The crows the murderous ravens.

They love him now.
They covet him, now,
tour his history, now,
his home, his life, his pain.
They understand him now.
In life they never once 
to touch his dark wounded face.

He must have,
before that moment,
silently swayed 
peacefully as golden wheat. His quartered ear
covered by orange hair the color of
a monk’s robe. Smoke at his heart, vermillion at his feet.

Van Gogh Celebrity Painter

( I’ve been working on a poem centered around Van Gogh’s painting The Wheatfield and the Crows. It is possibly his last painting before he shot himself. I’ve also been thinking about the cult of celebrity and criticism and how it has destroyed many artists who struggled to make ends meet when they were alive, but in death their art became worth millions to those who had originally criticized.) This is just one sketch our outlined idea.

It begins with him painting.
Alone in the golden wheat.
Dark birds dot the sky;
they are not vultures
they are crows
they are critics.

They are flying wildly.
Why are they flying?
Away from the sound

The birds scatter
over all of his paintings,
all of his influences,
all of his colors.

He is like a useless scarecrow
the vermilion spilling,
He sways.

Artist You die, and
they love you now,
but never while
you were alive.

Two Poems for Van Gogh

Van Gogh’s Favorite Color was Yellow

A firecracker shot
Over golden sunflowers, and lavender lilies.
Past people eating potatoes, and
Round full bodies bent
Over rows of crimson, and
Purple grapes.

Thick strokes of yellow wheat,
Painted blue sky, and flocks,
Flocks of black crows,
Flying, as if startled.

Crying from cafes, and
Swirling starry nights,
Climbing maddened trees
Stomping through tactile gardens.

So quite, like a scarecrow,
You gripped your palette.
Supplicating in your blue smock,
Orange Dutch beard,
Vermillion at your feet.

Brother love,
Cradling your wrapped, and quartered ear.
Empty, waiting.
Wrapped like a monk in the warm color of yellow.

While you lived they never once
Reached to touch your dark wounded face.


La Tristesse Durera Toujour
The Sadness Will Last Forever

Bleeding from a razor;
Dull, so he had to dig in and saw – to and fro – back n forth
till he removed the ear.
Bandaged in bed, only a brother to love him
and love
was all he wanted to share.

Empty exploding heart
Rejected by the world
Falling on his knees in a field of gold

And love

We love him now
Like we love, all things, too late.