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Tuesday, May 10, 2011


by Rochelle Owens  

Desiring  e u p h o r  i a
envying Van Gogh  the tattoo artist
begins carving sunflowers

a layer of  s k i n  the  s k i n
the  c a n v a s
absorbing sunlight

s p a c i n g  the petals
each puncture the molten eyeballs
thumbs and fingers of Van Gogh

marking the  s k I n
inserting the pigment 
 the  s k i n  the  c a n v a s

absorbing sunlight
each leaf touches of yellow
dabs of white and green

a single rapid stroke

ravenous the flesh  the  c a n v a s
near the armpits
among the petals of flowers

a bright blue halo
leaves of beaten gold from the sun’s core
the mystical signature of Van Gogh

hidden inside of the thighs
of the samurai warrior
occult words  energy of the Logos

from ink to blood
the thorns piercing  the  s k i n
the  c a n v a s  absorbing sunlight

the sound needles make  the  waves
the waves and wind

Rochelle Owens is the author of twenty books of poetry, plays, and fiction, the most recent of which are Solitary Workwoman(Junction Press, 2011), Journey to Purity (Texture Press, 2009), and Plays by Rochelle Owens (Broadway Play Publishing, 2000). A pioneer in the experimental off-Broadway theatre movement and an internationally known innovative poet, she has received Village Voice Obie awards and honors from the New York Drama Critics Circle. Her plays have been presented worldwide and in festivals in Edinburgh, Avignon, Paris, and Berlin. Her play Futz, which is considered a classic of the American avant-garde theatre, was produced by Ellen Stewart at LaMama, directed by Tom O’Horgan and performed by the LaMama Troupe in 1967, and was made into a film in 1969. A French language production of Three Front was produced by France-Culture and broadcast on Radio France. She has been a participant in the Festival Franco-Anglais de Poésie, and has translated Liliane Atlan’s novel Les passants, The Passersby (Henry Holt, 1989). She has held fellowships from the NEA, Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and numerous other foundations. She has taught at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Oklahoma and held residencies at Brown and Southwestern Louisiana State. This is Rochelle Owens' nineteenth New Verse News poem.