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Poem by Jack Powers

Van Gogh Soliloquy

this I have to offer you
without a tree I am pinned and bleed
remarkably painless
The shred of ear still pink
blood hot on my neck,
but, seeped into tunic syrup.
had I left it inside
it would have bubbled to my brain delirious. yes.
that’s it. a safety valve. it
could have been my genitals. should have -they
make loneliness harder. the
constant nagging throb. perhaps though
the nose. or tongue
they could go.
the tongue. no one listens. or
maybe one little finger —
it’s all symbolic anyway
a finger. a little finger
wagging at me. do this. do that
maybe all the fingers
one by one. if I could bare
one hand stumped and finally pure
then what to do with the good hand. unpure? what
remedy? what archangel’s blade to free me? what ties
me? what cord strangles?
my eyes pop inches out of their sockets no
air, my blood suffocating me
my genitals acting outside of me.
my hands. filthy hands. filthy hands
my imperfect sense. all. all tainted
the ear. that dares to hear music
in a cacophony of pain. the ear
straight gleaming razor slashed through air
and the release. god. god. the release
lost in part and saved in whole
my gift. my gift dearest god. who has showed me this small way
this tiny salvation. in the arena. i stand in front of cheering thousands
waving this trophy. one bleeding ear. the corpus still alive
      and so pregnantly ripe for still more pain.


Illustration  © James Conant
Illustration © James Conant


Jack Powers founded Stone Soup Poetry in 1971 and hosted the series for over 30 years, publishing over 100 books and journals. He passed away in 2010. Thanks to Oddball Magazine columnist James Van Looy and Out of The Blue Gallery volunteer Laurel Lambert for recovering this poems from Jack Powers’ papers shortly after his death.

James Conant is a Cambridge artist who was a primary illustrators for the online journal Spoonful.


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3TV Presents: “The Midday Nap” by Martin Willitts Jr, Performed by R. Wayne Nickerson

Performed as part of Stone Soup’s open mic at the Out of The Blue Art Gallery on April 23, 2013. Willitts is seen with his wife, Linda Griggs, at the end of this video, having enjoyed this rendition of his poem by R. Wayne Nickerson, who is accompanied by Ethan Mackler on bass. Compare the text below with R. Wayne’s interpretation.



The Midday Nap

                   Based on the Painting, “The Midday Nap”
                   by Vincent Van Gogh, 1889

Not so fast world. Not so fast. There is time
for things both pleasurable and work
so tiring, your arms are ropes of pain.

Our lives are in constant motion.
Each seed knows its own voice
like a horse pulling a hay wagon.

We need to find that moment when things rest
in a field of cut hay, under a triangle shade,
far from the fall harvest, far from exhaustion.

I have learned to take these short siestas,
while the sun plods as a horse never stopping.
A few minutes are all I need.

I am more with the shadows than not. I squint
under a straw hat into what needs to be done.
These are seasons of endless roped haystacks.

I shrug muscles already feeling the swinging scythe.
Already gone to where things are never interrupted.
gone like peaches canned. Or fences mended and breaking.

What is held? The sky is yellow felled grains.
It always will be planted and harvest again.
Always will be this way. Always was.

There will always be couples resting in shade.
They will work until the day is bundled as the hay,
where love is always beginning and ending.


Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian living in Syracuse, New York. He currently evaluates Prior Learning Evaluations for SUNY Empire State College. He is a visual artist of Victorian and Chinese paper cutouts. He was nominated for 6 Pushcart and 6 Best of the Net awards.

R. Wayne Nickerson is a regular contributor to open mics in the Boston and north shore areas. “I pray I’ll continue to do this for a long, long time. Viva Stone Soup, viva fellow writers, good company, good life.”


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Poem by Joanie DiMartino

Van Gogh as Lee Harvey Oswald

                              Of course he
                      would prefer the book
                   depository, as it was empty:
                 he desired the solitude of monks,
                and he loved being surrounded by
           novels, but mostly, he wanted his easel
         notched next to the sixth floor window,
       where the view of the grassy knoll was
       unencumbered, his jute canvas bursting
       with studied swirls of green like a lone
         lime tree in Arles. Later, before colluding
           his suicide with Ruby, he mailed from his
               jail cell a package to Jackie: “to the White
                 House from the Yellow House,” the plain
                   box read; he wished to replace something
                         she lost that day in Dallas–a mere
                             trifle, he knew, but still, he could
                              not forget the tv footage of her
                                scrambling over the back
                                  of the convertible–
                                    so he sliced off his
                                      own to return
                                        to her hands
                                          a man’s


© 2013 Allison Goldin
© Allison Goldin


Joanie DiMartino has work published in many literary journals and anthologies, including Modern Haiku, Alimentum, Calyx, and Amethyst Arsenic. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Licking the Spoon, and Strange Girls. She hosts Soup & Sonnets: A Monthly Literary Salon for Women, and directs the Hidden Treasures Poetry Series in partnership with the Courtyard Art Gallery in downtown Mystic, CT. A historian as well as a poet, DiMartino is currently at work on a collection of poems about the 19th-century whaling industry. “Van Gogh as Lee Harvey Oswald” is currently on display as part of the “Salon des Independents” show at the Hygienic Galleries in New London Connecticut.

Allison Goldin is an artist living in Cambridge. Her work is a collection of spontaneous drawings from the imagination. The most common link throughout her art are the semi-recognizable creatures scattered amongst and bringing together the surrounding doodles. She is currently studying Illustration at The School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.