Fall 2008, Volume 5

Poetry by Susana H. Case

Van Gogh Addresses Doctor Gachet before the Suicide

Sir, I know that sunstroke is your working
diagnosis but surely all this yellow is too much
for the sun to contain—
even inside the asylum the ochre overpowered me
I saw it in my face—filled
with ticklish qualities at night. I look at stars,
their halos, and perhaps this is presumption but
your treatment is not working, that digitalis
you so lovingly hold in both my portraits,
that spills over your garden, does not calm my brain,
my distress at lack of sales
          you must help me or I will give myself entirely to drink
          bitter absinthe fantasies, dreams—or worse,
knowing I must balance out these yellows with blues,
deliberateness of palette, its divergence into fears, fits,
failure as an artist,
but what color after all are the sunflowers
in your vision, doctor, so watch me pour my wormwood
urges over sugar into a glass of water,
make me whole or leave me be to clean my gun.

Get off of my Cloud

Don't invite me to visit you at Yale again. Ever. Here I am, every day

open to the flow of the universe while you put all your energy into becoming corporate scum.

That doesn't mean I don't want to be friends. But, despite your accusations,

I have never been into meditation, Reiki distance healing, or tried to improve my chi. Okay,

so I smoke a little weed: if you don't think alternate paths to knowledge are interesting, wait—the paradigms will shift

while you're sleeping. Wake up! Tell me what you feel. Can you fill out this questionnaire? Maybe

I'm being unfair—you don't live in New York; you've already begun to disappear. I'm romancing someone new I met online

whom I have never seen in person. Sex with him is the best I've ever had. Mine is the fuller life —isn't it?

BIO:  Susana H. Case, professor at the New York Institute of Technology, has recent work in many journals, including: Amoskeag, Cider Press Review, Coe Review, Diner, Eclipse, Gulf Stream Magazine, Hawai'i Pacific Review, Paper Street and The Mochila Review. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she is the author of The Scottish Café (Slapering Hol Press, 2002), Hiking The Desert In High Heels (RightHandPointing, 2005), and Anthropologist In Ohio (Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2005).