The Last Painting

November 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

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 
reached
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.

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