New Biography Says van Gogh Did Not Kill Himself

I haven’t read this biography yet, so I can’t judge the authors’ claims that van Gogh was murdered by some crazy kid in his neighborhood. What I can do is use this as an opportunity to post a poem I wrote about van Gogh over twenty years ago. I have been a lifelong fan of his work. This is my tribute to his genius and a life that was cut brutally short by his own hand or that of another … Below that is a link to a brief article in the NYT.

Van Gogh is Dead


i just heard the news

watch face melting

bell bottoms ringing on lead ankles


as i flit from the night café

in my beethoven tie and hayden mustache

with my mourning beret pressed to my scalp

and my malacca cane tapping out the stiff funeral cadence

i am a butterfly in search of cancan girls in bloom

and beaujolais as thick as blood

i am a funeral bird waiting for the green corn to ripen

before i fly across the parisian skies


toulouse did you hear

van gogh gone


cezanne and that rebel gauguin

drunk on the boulevard

pissing odes to pushkin and dumas in bistro watercolors

while pissaro and seurat

look for virgins behind the nunnery

only to find pagan landscapes of irises and olive trees

and mademoiselle gachet at the piano playing the blues


i trace vincent’s footsteps down

the corridor of the asylum at Saint Remy

i follow the blood trail from Paris to Auvers-sur-Oise

pausing only to ask the peasant woman in a red bonnet:

“Ou est van Gogh?


she points to a blood stain in the field

a canvas painted with a bullet behind the manure pile

A self-portrait with pipe and bandaged ear


van gogh

for two days he lay in his room on the threshold of eternity

the stigmata in his chest purple and raw like his last words:


“There is no end to sorrow”


van gogh


migratory birds on their way south picked clean

his skull with a cigarette


van gogh


his brushstroked bones in muted brown turned to ashes

in the autumn landscape with four trees


i just heard

watch face melting

bell bottoms ringing on lead ankles


van gogh is dead


i stretch forth my arms to console the starry night

but the sunflowers they cry all day


New Biography Says van Gogh Did Not Kill Himself –


3 thoughts on “New Biography Says van Gogh Did Not Kill Himself

  1. Pingback: Loving Vincent Trailer | Ourstorian

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