to Jean-Baptiste Chantoiseau
he had gone to sleep
for the last time
inside the painting, itself,
he had pulled up
the misshapen hills for blankets–
blankets dripping with green muddied sorrow,
he had succumbed
to the pull of Earth’s opaque forces,
painted himself under irresistible layers
of Cerulean blue
and laid himself
down in it.
Out of the swirling darkness–a shock of light:
golden, glorious, illuminating, sweeping–
a ladder reaching up and out of
the sagging, caving roof of his madness;
the deaf ear
of its simple wooden frame.
Yes, that topped it off.
I read somewhere that thieves
used a ladder to reach the roof
of the Van Gogh Museum. Perhaps,
they wished to climb into one of his paintings.
“What’s the name of that one?” you asked.
“Hilltop,” I replied.
Surrender to the Earth, I thought.
( Originally published in Strangers in Paris—New Writing Inspired by the City of Light.)
Antonia Alexandra Klimenko trained as an actress at the American Conservatory Theater and was first introduced on the BBC and to the literary world by Tambimuttu of Poetry London–publisher of T.S.Eliot, Henry Miller and Allen Ginsberg, to name a few. Although her manuscript was orphaned upon his passing, her poems and correspondence are included in his Special Collections at Northwestern University. A former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion, her work has appeared in Howl: San Francisco Poetry News, The Bastille, Strangers in Paris–New Writings Inspired by the City of Light, Maintenant 7: Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived in New York’s Museum of Modern Art; and will be featured in the forthcoming anthology Last Clean Dirty Shirt. She lives in Paris.