Van Gogh’s Room
Everyone’s seen it. The wooden footboard
of the bed frame, slanted like the ceiling above
with the painting of a showgirl’s golden hair
and his own self-portrait hung from wires.
The little table with blue pitcher and cruets
for vinegar or turpentine, and the mirror
that reflects nothing back. Tabula rasa
in a black frame. No wonder he sliced his ear,
jangled by interruptive smudges, these tan chips
across the sea-green floor. Blue door, closed, walls
with fauvist colours, even the green windows
bleed to a jaundiced yellow and hold no view.
All his monkish possessions in one cell
as if he could step like Tarot’s Fool into colourless
air, dance off a mountain to a tune he alone hears.
I see him thinking in those wooden chairs. Their straw
seats, inverted Cezanne haystacks, snap my heartstrings.
No one Vincent knows is here to share the sunlight
of Arles. Gauguin’s already gone, burn out in the islands
with his Polynesian girls, draped in orange
and lime sarongs. He’ll lose a leg to gangrene,
dump Vincent completely, die leaving paintings
And a notebook, never knowing where we’re going,
Why we’re here, from whence we’ve come
Unlike Van Gogh who always knew.
Some never need to leave a room.
This poem was previously published in the book, Original Human, by Deborah DeNicola, from Wordtech Press.
Deborah DeNicola is the author of two collections of poetry, most recently, Original Human, 2010 from Word Tech, Where Divinity Begins from Alice James Books, four chapbooks, and her memoir,
The Future That Brought Her Here from NicholasHays 2009. She edited Orpheus & Company; Contemporary Poems on Greek Mythology (UPNE.) An adjunct professor, and editor, DeNicola received The Carpe Articulum Award in 2010, Briar Cliff Poetry Award, 2007, the Santa Barbara Poetry Award, 2008 and The Paul Hoover Critical Essay Award from Packingtown Review, 2009. She is the recipient of an artist’s fellowship from the NEA. Her web site is www.intuitivegateways.com.
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