After the Vortex

After the Vortex

Composition VII, by Kandinsky. 1913

 My poem from yesterday was about many things, but chiefly about fighting the inability to write. Poems, prose, in journals. The painting above is about something else, though it ties some things together for me. Kandinsky, in this work from his Der Blaue Reiter period, was painting in part theoretically, putting theories into his paintings, arming his colors with monads of thought. Color as spirit. Spiritual color(s). Color to invoke the spiritual. And music as the bridge of bridges.

“Colour is a power which directly influences the soul. Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammer, the soul is the strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.” — Wassily Kandinsky

He, too, would paint improvisationally, in a way similar to my poem In Medias Res. But it is often easier to paint musically, spontaneously, and make it effective as a composition, than to write in that manner. At a loss, the painter can still make visual poetry from nature, internal and external, even in the midst of flailing. At a loss, the poet can make a mess of things.

The choice of the painting by Van Gogh was complicated. Memories of my own visit to Arles, and the recognition of his suffering there, combine with the tragic lot he noted in others. The patrons of the Café de l’ Alcazar. The patrons of the night. But he translated that tragic vision into art, again and again and again.

“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.”

“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.” — Vincent Van Gogh

Sometimes when I think about writing, I think words wound that vision, that dream . . .


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