Was reading Ryk McIntyre’s excellent chapbook “Do Your Job” and one of the poems just knocked me out.
I think I will try to do one of these historical fiction poems at some point.
I think this one is brilliant, Paulie Lipman is also great at the persona poem.
Here is Ryk’s poem:
Hitler Considers His Landscapes, Vienna 1908
(set in an alternate universe, where despite rejection from the Fine Arts Academy, Vienna, Hitler never abandons painting … for Andrea Gibson)
There is a growing delicacy in my strokes
that surprises me. I have made ribbons of blue
float above the canvas, let loose yellow explosions
that cause me to weep. I have made peace
with my brush. It was not always this way.
An angry man, I was useless for anything
other than making war on the art. I would blitz
the vulnerable, open borders of every canvas
with bold strokes, with lightning-swift attacks.
I have made meek watercolors sue for cease-fire.
Since then, I have discovered, in unguarded moments,
between dipping my brush and first touch of canvas,
a silence … still as Lake Hintersee before sunrise.
I saw my reflection in every decision I have made.
I found myself, and he is a humble man, inclined
to be peaceful, and a lover of his chosen art form,
if a mediocre talent at his best. I’ve made peace
with my failed dreams, and still have the courage
to not walk away. I watched my mother die. I was able
to let her go without becoming angry at the world.
Even if History judges me the very worst man
to ever paint, let it be said that I hurt no one, that I
lived a life of quiet dignity, and small accomplishments.
There is red all over my hands, and yet it washes off
with out any trouble. I got to sleep with clean hands.
There is a Jew I know who runs a successful art gallery,
and even though he politely refers to my struggles
as “the challenges inherent in my talent level”, and,
though he only buys my poor paintings to be kind,
never for resale, I will always call him my friend.
Makes you think of everyone who makes art.
Enjoy making art. Enjoy creating something, anything. Seeing the world through the eyes of an artist, looking at things longer. This is true for poets, writers, photographers, painters, musicians …
Whether crappy or brilliant.
I wish Hitler lived the humble life of a mediocre artist.
Think of how much different the world would be.