Van Gogh, Roses, 1890
—For Mathieu & Rachel
Calendar above my bed:
the harsh grid of days softened
by almost translucent
so close to dissolving—
how the plague of failure
must have fingered the wound of your gift—
the sad angles of the leaves
remorseful in the fading light
from the transparent evening sky
above of the sanatorium in Saint-Remy in May.
Knowing you had it—
knowing you would be forgotten
before you were even remembered—
About the Author: Brendon Booth-Jones is the Editor-in-Chief of Writer’s Block Magazine in Amsterdam. Brendon’s work has appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic, Amaryllis, Botsotso, The Blue Nib, Ghost City Review, Odd Magazine, Peeking Cat, Scarlet Leaf Review, Zigzag and elsewhere. Brendon won the 2019 White Label Competition for his debut poetry collection, Vertigo to Go, which will be published by Hedgehog Poetry Press in 2020. Find him on Facebook @brendonboothjoneswriter
Image Credit: Vincent Van Gogh “Still Life: Vase with Pink Roses” (1890) Public Domain
About the Author: Mike Acker lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has lived in various parts of the world; his early education was in German and French. While living in California, he worked as a professional translator. Mike enjoys writing short poetry, especially with the intent of exploring the possibilities latent in a single image.
More By Mike Acker:
Vincent Van Gogh “Starry Night Over the Rhone” (1888) Public Domain
I knelt down to touch the multiplicity
bursting from the soil. The red hoods
met my fingers. Their little figures bowed.
I dreamt of toads and the dark doors of fable,
of infectious sleep traveling the spores
of wind, of the countryside fallen into itself
forming a shadow image: inverted houses,
underground fruits, chromatic summers
blooming in reverse. And the mushrooms,
in their gnarled approximations,
running, like lunatics, through the streets.
About the Author: Seth Jani lives in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress (www.sevencirclepress.com). Their work has appeared in The American Poetry Journal, Chiron Review, Rust+Moth and Pretty Owl Poetry, among others. Their full-length collection, Night Fable, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018. More about them and their work can be found at www.sethjani.com.
More By Seth Jani:
Image Credit: Vincent Van Gogh “Path in the Woods” (1887) Public Domain
My Nephew and I Escape from Prison
he’s technically inclined enough
at just six years old
to operate most tools
building things like a filthy
Frank Lloyd Wright
obsessed with the idiosyncrasies
of each claw machine
he intends to break ground with
a shovel and begin digging
his hand like one of his
beloved blue print envisioned
crayola claws until there is a hole
big enough for us both to get
to the other side where I’ll be
charged with explaining to
people that we are prisoners
of a psychological spectrum
we refuse to serve needless
time we could spend building
things, writing poems and on
parole from the menace of
social stigma we are too
distracted by our gifted
obsessions to waste time
paying attention to as
we find the miracles in
the attics of our minds,
minds no one quite has
like the two of us.
About the Author: Kevin Ridgeway is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press). Recent work can be found in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Main Street Rag, The American Journal of Poetry, Big Hammer, Trailer Park Quarterly and So it Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.
More By Kevin Ridgeway:
Sally with the Accent
Five Hundred Channels and Nothing On
Image Credit: Vincent Van Gogh “Prisoners Exercising” (1890)
The Painter on the Road to Tarascon by Vincent van Gogh, 1888.
THE PAINTER ON THE ROAD TO TARASCON
by Matt Gonzalez
Laden with his brushes and props, one is struck by the spring in his step, his single-minded purpose. Yet anticipation hovers over the Provencal landscape, for one cannot help but guess what subject the painter will capture later this day. Straw hat firmly on his head, blazing sunlight cascading over the path… One can get thirsty looking at this painting.
But the thick, seemingly wet paint, masks an unexpected truth: The painting does not exist. For though the artist painted it, only technology, the very thing that today spoils the once calm rural landscape depicted, allows us to still view the painting. The original was lost during WW II, believed destroyed when Allied forces bombed Magdeburg, setting fire to the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum where it was housed.
Striding along a row of trees the painter is alone, but for the presence of his shadow that figures prominently in the lower right foreground of the canvas. His bold walking companion could easily pass for a bullfighter, but now runs alongside and only barely keeps up with his friend to whom he’s tethered.
Wearing a broad-brimmed yellow hat and carrying a camp stool and easel strapped to his back, rolled canvas also, and walking cane in his left hand… the painter on the road to Tarascon cuts the very image of the plein-air painter…off to find his ground, to peer at the world from. Painted in July 1888, it prefigures so much for Vincent van Gogh. Within a month Paul Gauguin will join him in Arles. By the end of the year he will suffer his first seizure, and within two years he will both sell his first painting in Brussels, and fatally shoot himself in the chest at Auvers-sur-Oise. Dead at the age of thirty-seven.
This rural thoroughfare then, running north from Arles to Tarascon, is his last peace before so much turmoil envelopes and overtakes him. But that is later… I believe the painter on the road to Tarascon to be content.