Van Goch

Van Goch

A very long time ago I had drawn this portrait of Van Gogh

I had called Van Goch

I don’t even remember why I chose him

and all that is left to me is guessing



All your life you’ve been inhabited by the fires of passion

a passion burning warm inside

tightening your face in sad and angry resolve

guiding your eyes and your hands

to give life to dead pieces of linen


All your life you’ve lived in misery

moving from a barn to a stable of rural Netherlands

delighting at the sight of fields in Spring

even when your hands and your feet were cold, too cold

and your stomach was empty, too empty

but never mind you filled it with whatever gruel you found

and continued painting because that was what truly mattered


You lived out of the charity of your brother

unable to provide to your own needs

unable even to find the gold to buy your precious paint

you glided and erred through the solitary plains of life

always battered by a chilly wind blowing from the North

unnoticed and sniggered upon and pitied by the people you crossed


And when many years of hardship finally have the best over your body

and you lay down in the frozen soil never to rise again

your wicker hat as the only possession you bring with you in death

since your paint tubes were too empty to carry and your brushes too damaged to bring along

with the hope that perhaps in death you’d find the warmth and the solace

that had been deprived from you during all your life


And now, now, many years after your death

they have built a palace over the paintings that used to be stored

in the mud of a den house

A palace of glass and steel, the glass you never had at your window to keep out the night’s chill

The concrete you never had under your feet to shelter you from the earth’s dampness

now all your paintings inhabit this grand building

and are each worth a city or a small country in gold

and they’re protected by sophisticated alarms preventing the passersby and visitors

that have traveled all the world to see your artwork

to breathe too closely to them


You watch over all that telling yourself you didn’t need a palace where to live

just a small decent room with a warm fire

and a comfortable place with a carpet where to paint

and a bed you could also use as a sofa to rest and ponder during the long wintry nights

You, the half-crazy painter of misery

who has become the pride of Amsterdam and the Netherlands

you watch at your fate without alacrity or bitterness

You’re just surprised at the ways of life

and you pray that this time things will balance out

you pray that this precariousness will be left behind

and you’ll find solid walls and a warm hearth

to paint all the worlds that lie within your imagination

you pray that this bag of sadness that had accumulated under your chin

in your throat will finally empty itself

and let you become as free and radiant as the flowers and the butterflies

that you used to admire when Spring’s mildness applied its balms on your calluses