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Currajah (news & notes)

Famous Reporter # 32






  Three laments for yellow


1. Theo
Brother, I said,
you look too close, too long,
sunblinded for yellow. But
I could only stand by
while he painted with dumb fury:
chrome yellow, citron yellow, ochre yellow.
Wheat, corn, grass. Everything.
Houseyellow bookyellow chairyellow.
A fever of yellow
a burning sulphur summer.
Wild brush-strokes
huge flower-suns
weighted with his own heart’s cry:
probing beyond yellow to light itself.
Unshielded, challenging the very source,
that terrible Eye glaring back.
Surely, for him, the supreme blasphemy?
For here and here and here
he paints the progress, the price
of such knowledge:
the sere underlight diseasing
each face he paints from the mirror.


2. Gaugin
Heliotrope or tournesol, however named
each a flowered metaphor of the sun.
They rose and set in Daubigny’s garden
to seed Vincent’s mind with their colour.
Sunbursts of passion. And entropy.
An outcry of the real he said.
(His kind of sanity transparent as death.)
And he faced toward it, oblivious
that the covenant must hold:
that only while sightings remain oblique
will the Star be tamed –
only in dayshadow negative,
long blue castings
intangible as faith,
only in the lake’s un-netted reflections
can the Star be held.
Or as blood’s redshift flicker
behind closed eyelids,
a fission of petals;
the earlobe’s translucence offered up
sun to sun
flower-wheel to fire.


3. Rachel
They grew like weeds that summer.
He’d pick them by the roadside or
at the edge of fields. Huge bunches.
Then take them back to the yellow house,
and paint.
That’s all I know about sunflowers.
Or him.
Though you’d like me to say more…
some whore’s secret?
(Did he have me strip
those flower-heads of their seed,
to stream from my mouth
while he took me
like a beast, from behind?
Did he have me carpet a circle:
make a great sun with them
while he, in the centre
stripped himself of seed?
Or when he brought me that piece of flesh
he cried: For you, lady,
                the ear of the bull!
That as he left, seeds trailed after like drops
of blood, black on the sand?)
No, this is a small town –
and I have a living to make.
I have nothing to tell. Except this:
I liked him.
But I never did care for all that yellow.


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