journalism in verse

vincent-robert-glyaczk-in-colour

Sending Letters to Tomorrow

in Culture by

On seeing Loving Vincent

1.
Unless yellow sorts to jackets, haystacks,
sunflowers, and thatch, the winter careens
into soot as deep as faithless coal pits. When
you left and packed up scattered sheets
of different deities we waited in the hallway
each and every day. We knew you were
coming back long before return addresses
made destinations sound peculiar. But where
will you be now when the last letter gets sent
away? Where will you be now when sorrow
finds you wanting?

2.
Forcing canted scenery into nailed down
undulations is as easy as peering through
mesh wires and recording the linework
of sun and trough. We eat here. We set out
empty chairs in the street and fabricate
melancholia. We empty glasses

from the castaways, shipwrecked
between the boatmen who keep
our secrets and our carved out, oar-marked,
heart-hole paddling. At the front of canoes
there are the sluicing cleaves
of getting near to you, and nearer.

At the back, the shadowed carcasses
of yesterday steer us further away.

3.
After all the drawers are full,
will you store our sealed
and mailed out manifestos–
make them the crumpled
stuffing in your shoes
and socks and pant legs?

Could continuing a pen stroke
through days and dates and miles
and edges of earthen heaving
near the seashore
represent a fingertip— and now

another— as we direct our notes
back home? How many words
become the background
for I love you’s?

4.
When you went away
I waited with a lean. Carve
the orbits of our trajectories
now with a fixed compass point
and steady, circular groans.

In any ring the gathered gold
is emblazoned; reflects callous
workmanship toward our astral
aspirations and our certainties
of afterlifes. Our memories are stars.

5.
Fragments of the irises
and the clutching hands
on seeds and saws and sorrows
stitch into swallowed sunstreaks
on your face

as rearranged and careful
as gathered still lifes in bouquet.
Painting a painting

of a painting in your faces; your gifts
of rose stems and leaves and petals
as torqued piano string melodies float

into thin, wan grids of window pane,
while both mirror and transparent
argue into night.

6..
There are the incidents of pronouncements
and the embarrassment of pronunciations. Each of us
found ourselves released inside French towns, our
sounds collapsed and ground down

like the purest pigment dust that catches glints
from mincing pestle, mortar, and the sweaty sheen
of oil. Instead of nighttime, we had the obvious,
the truest scene of all; the knowledge that a team

of hands and arms and eyes in unison couldn’t cast
and hold this fleeting wind of our impossible belonging.
Nothing is as sacred as any one of those single, still,
and mesmerizing captured moments made by you. Discard

the tangled narrative of searching. Our eyes will find a way
inside these scenic and wordless sanctuaries to majesty
and the saturated sense of need. If nothing ever lasts here
then explain the museums of hope we visit now, together.

7.
Explain your hair, your taste and touch and birdsongs–
the perch and pitch and shallow sink of constellations
connecting mapmarks from our flesh to the sacred
and obscene– into more than a picture and a composed

series of isolations could ever ask for. Our eyes
are lingering at color shifts and gulping at the constant.
Kiss the mysteries to sleep as you reshape the deepest
weight of yesterday’s fiascos with those scratched-out

brush tips so feverish for a whisper of conclusion
in this mist of relentless strain. We contain the photographs
of our corresponding ruins, as sure as our collapsing,
whether marked by gravity or beds. There are 100 ways

to insist endings must be unforgiving, just as memories
unshackle the subtle pressing of liquid into distant pictures
as you stop at another sordid painting on the wall, take
a moment and a chance. Our glances are as predictable

as the avalanches of regret. Everyone we spoke to
knew of something they couldn’t have. I prefer
the single moments of our combustion when everything
arrived and stayed and merged. Come now, retrace

your perfect lines with me; look up to a sky of alternate
departures, a sublunary sea of birds..

8.
Give yourself 100 years and hire 100 artists.
Resurrect dead wounds and reassemble canvas
backs of discards until the containers for cold
communion require more than flesh and blood

and savoring. We will set the shores of late season
harvest blooms on fire between eyes catching silhouettes
as shaking elbows and wrists turn comfort to innuendo.
Place candles in your hat brim and feel stars and rural

landscape towns as words to fill teeth-tips and the crevices
at the corners of your mouth. We loved so much, we longed
for postmen’s wives and children too; could render their skin tone,
cheekbone, hair sweeps and fabric gowns as urgent and precise

as their deliveries. Our oxygen and breaths are stamps and envelope
adhesives; the requisite kissing and lingering of lips. 100 stamps
and 100 letters too; 100 wasted ways to say I love you
sit waiting for anything at all to come and open us back up.

 


READ MORE

65,000 portraits of the artist: how van Gogh’s life became the subject of the world’s first fully-painted film [The Guardian]


Kurt Cole Eidsvig is an artist and poet. His work has appeared in Hanging Loose, Slipstream, Borderlands, Main Street Rag, and other journals. 

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