Van Gogh Self-Portrait


Vincent van Gogh Self-Portrait

       [With Bandaged Ear, Oil on Canvas, 1889,
       Courtauld Institute, London]

The blue is in the eyes last white of seeing
       only
       no other world
       but those harsh swirls and me
weighed down with
all the long history of paint’s
flight into the way
the blood’s aorta sees.

The shadows of my skin are there already
bruising their whorls into some viscous future
craving to be real
- as all that stuff crowds round -
will force itself through all the nauseous
colours into my visions,
       change it to light’s own
       thickness and design,
as flowers sun out the truth
must work my harsh brush beyond myself.

- do not surrender
all my delights come only
for the healing and narrations
of the light -

The colour as it comes,
the brush strokes short,
expressionist, alive
       (unlike Paul’s landscapes
        are more solid)
must break apart the wall of air
       - can see -
       - can touch -
vibrating in between,
bring its dark suns
unmutilated into the dangers
of its unabandoned moments,
onto the canvas’ waiting absence,
    sharp
       - dear god don’t let me go . . .
       - I sold a painting once -
in my delusions
       - keep this token Rachel
         carefully -
can look like that
stark bandaged
with the sudden colour
of too much palpability.

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