Summer 2008

Table of Contents - Vol. IV, No. 2


Poetry    Translations    Non-Fiction    Fiction    Essays   

Bob Bradshaw


Van Gogh: Room at Auvers

These walls are a muddy green
like a poisonous drink of absinthe.
Or maybe I'm woozy, weakened
from my illness.
I try to relax, imagine sunflowers
piled in the fields.
But I sleep alone.
Arles' brothel is far away.
There is only one window,
and it's in the roof.
Darkness fills its frames.
I am too tired to send Theo
more paintings that he can't sell.
More paintings mean more losses.
More expenses. More canvases
stacked against his walls.
This narrow room is hardly wider
than a planter box. There
are no imploring irises in the room.
Only a slim bed and a chair.
It needs a branch of plum blossoms
painted on a wall. Blossoms
that never fail to bloom
even on muddy


Black Smoke

Neighbors gathered
as thick smoke swirled from Srini's house.
People stood by the curb talking.
Where was Srini?
Away for holidays, someone said.
A fire truck roared up
to the curb. Hoses launched
trajectories of water
like a fire boat
calmly putting out the fire
on an abandoned trawler.
A fireman kicked the front door.
It fell backwards.

The smoke for a few seconds
parted. There, in the back
of the house, as calm
as if he were standing
to give a speech,
Srini stood.
Black smoke curled up
around him.
He could have been standing
on the sea's floor,
black smokers streaming up
from the floor's

The smoke enveloped Srini.
Flaming timbers fell from the roof
into the entrance way
pushing the fireman back.
And still we half expected Srini to step
through that door
of boiling blackness.

A silence wrapped around each of us
as the fire truck
continued to pour water
into the house's roof,
each stream of water
an unanswered


Mae's Big Day, 1966. The Beatles Were Playing

My mother bought the tickets,
and now there was no turning back.
The crowd sealed off the exits.

I waved my arms as if plunging
down a roller coaster.
I was screaming
with thousands
of other

I giggled and screamed and cried.
Mother was quick to criticize:
"The Beatles sound better on vinyl."

But Paul was singing Yesterday. I screamed.

A cork which gets swept up in rapids
I didn’t have time to debate
where I was going.

"Dear, he can't hear you..."
I heard my mother
in the waves.
With each guitar chord
the rapids grew more furious.
My mother’s voice
was like a lure
lost in a roar
off canyon

Everywhere girls
slipped to their knees,
There was only
one thing
to do.



© Bob Bradshaw



Poetry    Translations    Non-Fiction    Fiction    Essays   

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