Some Illusions Before Dawn

Wheat Field With Crows, by Vincent Van Gogh. 1890


Forty Illusions Before Midnight


Birds never fly away
Fish never swim away
The sun never sets

We are idiots of ego

The only revolutions
That matter are the violent ones
The ones that force us to cast off

Me mine me mine

The only revolutions that matter
Are those that reveal
All is relative

All is contingent and evanescent
Like the leaf that falls because

 She says so

The earth is not the center
Man is not the center
The self is not the center

Through time
There is no time

The great prophets
From Buddha to Einstein
Knew this        and

Tell us to let go


Those who do not preach this
Are not great
Those who do not break us

From the habit of me me
Are not shattering




— by Douglas Pinson



Happy Bloomsday! Plus New Poetry

Sunflowers. By Vincent Van Gogh. 1888

Nothing was as it seemed, when Van Gogh painted it. Roiling underneath the subject, flying above it, surrounding it, were his passions, his intensity, his flights into realms most of us could only guess at, if we can match him for moral imagination, or imagination period. With Van Gogh, a rose was not a rose was not a rose.

Ray Succre writes poetry along these same lines, or conjunctions, or coincidences, with a mask or two thrown in for good measure. Surreal, meant to be heard, meant to be spoken, they sing the uncanny.

Spinozablue presents two of his poems below.…

Van Gogh’s Letters

Van Gogh, self portrait. 1887.

This past October, we were blessed with a remarkable collection of Van Gogh’s letters, newly translated and complete, without censorship:

Vincent van Gogh: The Letters: The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition (Vol. 1-6) (Hardcover)
~ Nienke Bakker (Editor), Leo Jansen (Editor), Hans Luijten (Editor)

The collection contains pretty much every one of his paintings, is heavily annotated, and runs to more than 2000 pages. It will certainly revolutionize our understanding of one of the greatest and most misunderstood artists of all time.

For those of you who would rather not buy the book, his letters are now online at

The Seeds of Labor

The Sower, by Van Gogh. 1888

Sometimes, poetry is like a mystery, like a detective story put to song. Sometimes similes and metaphors string bits of life (like notes) into a song, a symphony, or a collage of chords never heard together. The point. Yes, that’s often the point. The bridge works for visuals as well. And for tactiles. The bridges work between humans, between nature, between humans and nature and beyond. Inside, outside, vertically, horizontally, depth and foreground, finding all dimensions, incorporating disparate elements. Harmonizing. Even atonally. Even off key to form new strings of keys washing into larger lakes, rivers, oceans of meaning.…

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.

Vortex at Midnight

The Night Cafe, by Van Gogh. 1888. Yale University Art Gallery



In Medias Res


There is a flurry of noise
Of images and batterings

As if I weather more than storms
More than wild winds

The flurry surrounds and confuses
Distorts and narrows
The field my focus
My open-ended vision

I’m too much a part of the world
– right now
Too much a swamped victim
Of my own acquiescence

Flattened like pictures
Floating down




— by Douglas Pinson


Van Gogh’s Provence

Farmhouse in Provence, by Vincent Van Gogh. 1888.

There are, of course, hundreds of beautiful regions in the world. Too many to see in one lifetime. So we must pick and choose carefully. Pick and choose carefully where to visit and where to live — if we have that choice and chance. Provence is one among hundreds, but unique. Unique being a word we can apply to those hundreds of places as well. And so it goes. Thousands, if we talk about towns, villages, cities, and so on. So far, in this life, my favorite places are in Ireland and France.…

Cezanne’s Provence

Mont Saint Victoire, by Paul Cezanne. 1887

One of my favorite places in France is Provence. Yes, I know. It’s not like I discovered it, of course. It’s been a very popular destination for . . . well, centuries. But especially in the modern era. Popularized best, perhaps, by painters such as Paul Cezanne and Vincent Van Gogh, and more recently by writers such as Peter Mayle. I recently watched a movie of one of his novels, A Good Year, starring Marion Cotillard (Vie En Rose), Abbie Cornish (Somersault) and Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind).…

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