Van Gogh in Chicago
Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.
Do you know where you are
dear man? City of hog butchers
shoulder to shoulder
with potato eaters.
Looking at you I flatter myself
and think you might recognize me.
– you are half drunk, half critical.
No matter where I stand
you do not see me. Outside the museum
self-portraits walk La Salle Street
in the rising heat, tremble
on the El past cell-sized rooms
where bodies rest two-by-two.
Walking these streets
I feel your breath at my ear
whispering look, no one lives
beyond their face.
How did you do it? Did you rise
from the yellow bed, comb your beard,
put on your overcoat and sit
before the mirror? Only to end
in the white quiet of a gallery hall
staring at yourself on the opposite wall.
So far from anything like an open field
of sunflowers, stalwart under a starry sky.
Tina Schumann is the author of three poetry collections, As If (Parlor City Press, 2010) which was the recipient of the Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize, Requiem, A Patrimony of Fugues (Diode Editions, 2016) which won the Diode Editions Chapbook Contest for 2016, and Praising the Paradox (Red Hen Press, 2019.) She is curator and editor of the anthology Two- Countries. U.S. Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents (Red Hen Press, 2017.) Her work was named a finalist in the National Poetry Series, Four Way Books Intro Prize and the New Issues Poetry Prize among others. She is the recipient of the 2009 American Poet Prize from The American Poetry Journal, a Pushcart nomination and finalist status in the 2013 Terrain.org Annual Poetry Contest, as well as honourable mention in The Atlantic 2008 poetry contest. Her poems have appeared in publications and anthologies since 1999 including The American Journal of Poetry, Ascent, Atticus Review, Crab Creek Review, Cimarron Review, Midwest Quarterly, Nimrod, Parabola, Palabra, The Human, The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine and Verse Daily. www.tinaschumann.com
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