Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday Poem: previously published in 1997 by Poetry London Newsletter, and The Nerve: A Writing Women's Poetry Anthology

Vincent Loves Lucy

It would've gone this way:
him taking her to his little room at Arles,
after ditching Ricky in Paris,
the Cuban left scratching his head at the station,
trying to figure out which train his dizzy 
wife had boarded by mistake.

It would start out like a dream,
guileless as the gleaners in the fields:
Her speaking her cartoon French to make him laugh.
Him whispering that her rosebud mouth
was the keyhole to unlocking them both.

But it wouldn't take long for him 
to start throwing the knives,
for the two of them to reach 
combustion you might say,
what with all that flaming 
improbable hair.

Picture the two of them:
so fair, sailing over wheat 
colored grass, the lift of her 
parasol, him coaxing her up
like a kite in the wind,
onto the Langlois bridge's 
delicate scaffolding.

Then all of a sudden 
her skirt gets caught,
the stubborn tilt of her hat 
as she yanks and yanks,
the boats crowding in 
unable to go through
and Vincent making 
no move to help,
only trying to paint 
her refusal, only blotting out 
her reflection with thick blue strokes.

Of course she'd spill 
unwanted into every painting:
the orange doorways, the frantic 
slashes of sunlight, the crows
singing badly in the fields.

Alas, these brushes 
with immortality 
don't last, no matter
how well imagined.
The whole thing, 
for Lucy, too much
like being locked inside
a steamer trunk, for Vincent, 
a mouth overfull of chocolates.

Before you know it, there's a telegram 
waiting for Ricky at the Hotel desk.

Help stop, it says. 
I tried to buy a painting stop
But the guy misunderstood me stop
Can you and Fred and Ethel pick me up?

1 comment:

Penelope said...

I loved this poem; the imaginative linking of all that flaming improbable hair, and the telegram at the end like a punch-line. Thanks for posting it Eileen.