David Hickman

Max Beckman

One night, staring
down the length

of a cigarette
into the tides of broken bodies

and burning

I saw the twisted
figures cohere

in the yellow light
of the trenches

and the stainless steel tables
of the makeshift morgue.

. . .One year later , discharged
with "hallucinations"

I spent a season in the Alps
reading Schopenhauer and Nietzsche.

In 1917
I painted "The Night."

--An homage to the figures
of suffering without sense

and the monsters of calumny
that bleed through their bandages

and are all the more monstrous
for being
ordinary . . . .

I felt it was my work
to paint the
evil. . . .

The hideous throbbing demons
of our vital energy. . .

In a violence of the senses
and a labor of the eyes


The rose of blood
is the rose of history.

Ever -twisted, each view
suggests a reason for hope

against the carnage on every side
of our hidden destiny.

. . . . I only wanted to paint
beautiful pictures
. . . .

. . . .Instead, I painted
The Hell of The birds . . . .

In Amsterdam
As the Reich was fuming

And the wind smelled of cordite
and Europe burned,

And I wound myself through the sewers of the world
To rid my mind of these confounded torments.


Ah, a sadness,
as of a crinoline

Smeared with blood
and shit

Sighing in the wind,
like the chorus

Of victims of the Entartete Kunst

Where light implored
the outer darkness,

For a moment,
not to burn.

And the wind was the wind.
And the silence said nothing.