b.z. niditch | van gogh's embrace


At the Holland club,
“The Dark Spot,”
with ebony letters
on the prewar roof
over this sinister rain
in a seedy neighborhood
shutting my fist
at the back door
which will not open
to the small basement,
a shadow dances
on my clarinet case
opening it up
by an androgynous stage
with two foreign bodies
making pot and love
squatting in disbelief
on the dirty Oriental rug
under newspaper debris
with my shout out
to Van Gogh
a Dutch uncle who would
stand by me,
my wounded shoulders
hurt from a lumpy bed
tugging at insomnia
here by easel light,
bend your good ear
on a razor edged canvas
full of blood colors,
your face is lemony
in this early print
on the corner wall
over tattooed
curtain’s eye shades
by the brewery scented
by a checkered floor bar
filled with miniature
of mixes of bottles
in furtive soot
with the smell of sulfur
trembling among nails
all over the stools
in a dream world
since you have not slept
Vince, for a few days
except at the brothel,
having one large spoonful
of housemaid soup
drinking heavily,
with the preacher cry
of rage in a starry night,
yet Theo will be here soon
to bring you sunflowers
and guilders,
here I’m to rehearse
for tonight’s gig,
my passport is lost
and am damned sad
as your yellow Christ
a presence of sorrow
in my own mad mirror
moving an adolescent
to melancholic tears
in this cold wine jug
at the frozen room
of famine ‘s bread
with only a peach
in my heavy pocket,
yet not deaf to intonation
in my mind’s patina
taking the clarinet
out of the case
recovering my passport
for a memorable hour
my notes will wax
on your beard,
your arms will embrace
what every artist
knows is imperishable.

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