Bacon's Van Gogh

Walking to deformation: nearly direction smears

Earth under the jag lane: through gape black

Crops of red: blurred psyches stroked in

Slung behind another: box recedes the painter


Tree bones or tanks: misshapen phallic gestures
              leafless, to the left, to the left

Burnt brown candle stub of leg: shades the right peg aside

Volcanic solid half: limb and face one viscous dip

Flesh chars away closer: profile huge, entirely without eye


Blood, dung, ocher mixed to canvas: straw patches smother out

Frame, walking stick, rim of hat: yellow, mad, thin

Slurring tan: red blent white sludges out yeses
              Arles pastels

The azure stripped: demarcates scorched under

Flesh pink all over the road: melts to ward in


Exterior with Woman Hanging Sheets

      I will perhaps send you some oranges from my garden
                          with their leaves.

              --Berthe Morisot, letter to Stephane Mallarme,
                        28 February 1889

She flecks dozens greens by
Ocher priming spreads through
Rectangles draped and white
Strokes hatch cerulean rose

Rustles a pair wide and spare
Brushed blanks barely hung
Over the smudged foliage
The woman hangs arranges

Dress aside much understated
Features thick fold she alights
Weighted skirts a cast of cloth
Violet undulates by all blue

Her arms a small garment dry
Pause the brisk diagonals lift
Line strung a garden of white
Bits hung between still thinner

Rust-burnished squares curved
As her elbow abutting left sheet
Enfolded orange surfacing maybe
Breath stretched between breast

Sarah Riggs will publish Word Sightings: Visual Media and the American Poet in summer 2002 (Routledge) and is currently writing a book of poems. She paints and photographs color abstracts, and lives in Paris and Provence.