Van Gogh

“Of Van Gogh”, “Pescador Beach” and “Beginning Piano”

In Poetry Issue Ten by Somnath Ganapa

Of Van Gogh

“The vast fields of wheat under turbulent skies”

were spotted red as your bullet

lodged itself in your stomach.

In the hospital your last words,

“the sadness will live forever.”


Why did your landlords call you

“the redheaded madman?”

Was it because you chased after

Gauguin with a razor when he wanted

to leave your “art collective?”

Or, was it because you nearly melted

your hand from hapless love and pleading,

“Let me see her for as long

as I can keep my hand in the flame?”


Your love interests teetered

between first cousins and

women ten years your elder,

between widows and alcoholic prostitutes.

You left the world with paintings

instead of children.


You inspired a new generation

of tortured artists,

linked suffering

with creativity.

We stand transfixed

seeing your “The Night Café”

mounted against the museum wall

and marvel at your genius,

“the way he uses schizophrenic colors to achieve mood.”


You lay earless, entombed.

“The sadness will live forever.”

Pescador Beach

I did not enjoy beaches.

I loathed how the wet sand matted

against my skin,

how salt crystals

clung to my clothes

after the seawater had evaporated.


But you convinced me

with promises of our silly laughter,

your shy body clad in a bikini,

warm sand tickling

our bare feet in our Los Angeles ‘winter.’


I drove my parents’ car,

you sat passenger,

and your sweet, singsong voice turned

my sober head tipsy.

Drinking and driving.


Cars crammed the beach parking lot,

so we innovated and furtively parked

across the street at the Jesuit Church.

We j-ran back even though

not a car was in sight.

I hope the Jesuits do not excommunicate us.


The moment our feet touch the sand you coveted,

it seeps into the gaps between my toes,

creates a webbing.

I want to scream.

But I catch a glimpse of you,

your euphoria, how your arms nearly drop

your mother’s beach blanket

to throw your hands into the air.

To conduct the joy in the air

through your body and into the warm sand.


I start to like the beach.

Beginning Piano

I stepped down the grimy staircase

And into the maze of practice rooms.

I heard the moans of the adjacent pianos

And the roars of sinful men.


I paid my due and entered my room,

suddenly transfixed by her

ebony wooden polish reflecting

light from the dim fluorescent bulb above.


She was every musician’s dream so

I approached cautiously,

Incredulous that she belonged to me,

At least for the next hour.


I gingerly lifted her upper lip with gentle fingers,

Revealing white and black teeth underneath.

Back straight, reverent fingers on middle C,

It was my first time.

About the Author

Somnath Ganapa

Somnath Ganapa is currently majoring in biology at the College of New Jersey. He aspires to become a physician but is interested in ultimately becoming a writer that he enjoys reading. His favorite writers are Malcolm Gladwell, Joseph Conrad and Paul Kalanithi.