by Charles L. Mee
People come through
from one side to the other,
in and out:
The five year old girl,
eating an ice cream cone, smiling,
sitting in a red wagon pulled by her father.
A golf cart, driven like crazy by a caddy,
while, in the back,
a couple embraces passionately.
A couple being pulled along on a picnic blanket
with food and a champagne bottle in a bucket,
and she is drinking and drinking and drinking the champagne.
An electric wheelchair—
a man driving,
a woman sitting on the handlebars,
she running her fingers through his hair over and over and over.
A skate board,
with a woman lying on her back on the skate board
as a man twirls it round and round in ecstasy.
A silk sheet, with silk pillows,
she lying back in her lingerie
he taking photos of her.
A homeless guy with cart of stuff.
A man and woman on a bicycle built for two—
one peddles while the other eats pizza.
A woman onlooker speaks:
I would eat tarte tatins
and drink Chateau Neuf du Pape
and sometimes a glass of rose
sitting in the garden in the afternoon
and, if it wouldn’t hurt too much
or become a habit leading down the path to hell
I’d like to have just one cigarette every day
or even one every other day
with an espresso, in the café
one of the cafes
and then I’d drive out to the hospital
where Van Gogh spent that year
painting the cypresses and the olive trees
and you think:
he was crazy
what a tragedy
how he suffered
but you know
he turned out a hundred a thirty paintings
or a hundred and forty paintings
or, like a hundred and forty three paintings
like he turned out a painting every two and a half days
for a year!
that’s where he turned out The Starry Night!
I don’t even mention the olive grove
or the field with the red poppies
and that’s what I would do
I would be a painter if I could even just hold a brush right
if I just had enough talent to dip a brush into some paint
and slather it on the canvas
because that is a perfect life
you just get up in the morning
and you get your cup of coffee
and you wander into your studio
and whatever catches your eye is what you do
oh, that painting I was working on yesterday
that could use a little splash of red up there near the top
and so you dip your brush into the paint
and you splash some red
and then a little yellow
some green here over on the right
I could put a sailboat up there in the sky
and then you have another sip of your coffee
and you notice the little ceramic vase
you had been working on the day before yesterday
and you think
I could put some kind of flat, muted purple
right there where its stomach bulges out a little bit
and then you see that drawing
that fell on the floor
off that table down near the other end of your studio
and you go to pick it up
and you just can’t resist
doing a little something to it
adding a little picnic table to the landscape
and by the time you finish that
you find yourself down at the other end of your studio
near the door out onto the terrace
so you go out onto the terrace
and sit at the little table there overlooking the vineyard
because by then it’s time for lunch
and your husband brings you a sandwich
and maybe a little glass of beaume de venise
and after lunch
you make love for the rest of the afternoon.
That’s the life I have in mind.