David Hickman

Edward Munch

In my rooms there were dark curtains

To hold the shades.

Waking to them each day was to remember Sophie ,

so sad and so pale, in her little blue housecoat.

. . .Every morning I sensed the hell inside their folds,

the brooding, dark impertinent umbers.

I knew that in their ripples lived the breathless, the contorted,

those who were vampires, or soldiers, here on earth.

It was melancholy to remember

but I remembered. . .

how, at the technical college, I learned the merest . . . distraction

. . . how to engineer, at arms length, a falsified, and falsifying world.

But illness was my angel .

For her I left school

to paint the darkness

that had swallowed my mother,

the volatility of color

at the edge of language,

the shrieking anguish

that envelopes each sigh,

in the recognition that our mortality

finally wins,

that we are awarenesses

that diminish finallyinto silence

and, like a father, that silence

carries with it

an implication.

Never mind that

it hurt to be called ‘degenerate”

by little men in silk suits

strutting the big lie.

. . .Let them prate with their glories

and their empty briefs

amid the stylized draft horses

that decorate their plaza’s.

I wanted

to live consciously the anguish

of the body,

to pour my losses

into the paint

and die.