Prose Header

Brothers Under the Skin

by B. Z. Niditch

They pulled out part of my ear.
You know, like you, poor Van Gogh,
suffering for art.
Our eyes widen
from our long suffering.

Why, we do not know,
but we will not give up
even in our sleep
when word pictures come to mind
at all hours of the night.

We cannot say why.
Today the sky is secluded
by clouds until harbor light
makes us cry for the beauty
of the Bay-side swans.

Very ashamed of our looks,
we smash our mirrors,
for we were both handsome men:
you, spending hours
on your back in the fields
among the ripest wheat;
I, on the beach forever
under the sun or on the boat
when attacked in our skin
here in the midst of bitter heat.

Now our ear is not intact,
but we will not react with fear
or sin against life.
We are still a sharp-edged poet
and artist of streaked shadows,
for our art is near,
closer than our breath,
with our few friends
who believe in us
and will not forsake us.

Nor will we, Vincent,
retreat into the terrible oppression
of self-hatred in a miserable pit,
giving way to self-mockery
in self-despair, but have hope
as we are aware
our art and poetry still give joy
from our fingertips and lips.

We still feel the rain on our faces
over the dock and boulevards
as the lighthouse shines,
watching guys play cards
and drink wine.

The new jonquils and daffodils
are out by the seashore.
Let us, Van Gogh,
work on our lines
of drawings and poems,
enjoy a croissant with coffee spices,
and not try to figure out
why you and I in our aloneness
have one less ear hole.
We will be made whole.

Copyright © 2014 by B. Z. Niditch

Proceed to Challenge 585...

Home Page