by Charles L. Mee
My doctor wouldn’t let me.
What does he have to do with it?
I would eat tarte tatins
and drink Chateau Neuf du Pape
and sometimes a glass of rose
sitting in the garden in the afternoon
and, if it wouldn’t hurt too much
or become a habit leading down the path to hell I’d like to have just one cigarette every day or even one every other day
with an espresso, in the café
one of the cafes
and then I’d drive out to the hospital
where Van Gogh spent that year
painting the cypresses and the olive trees and you think:
he was crazy
what a tragedy
how he suffered
but you know
he turned out a hundred a thirty paintings or a hundred and forty paintings
or, like a hundred and forty three paintings like he turned out a painting every two and a half days for a year!
that’s where he turned out The Starry Night! I don’t even mention the olive grove
or the field with the red poppies
and that’s what I would do
I would be a painter if I could even just hold a brush right if I just had enough talent to dip a brush into some paint and slather it on the canvas
because that is a perfect life
you just get up in the morning
and you get your cup of coffee
and you wander into your studio
and whatever catches your eye is what you do you think
oh, that painting I was working on yesterday that could use a little splash of red up there near the top and so you dip your brush into the paint and you splash some red
and then a little yellow
some green here over on the right
I could put a sailboat up there in the sky and then you have another sip of your coffee and you notice the little ceramic vase
you had been working on the day before yesterday and you think
I could put some kind of flat, muted purple right there where its stomach bulges out a little bit and then you see that drawing
that fell on the floor
off that table down near the other end of your studio and you go to pick it up
and you just can’t resist
doing a little something to it
adding a little picnic table to the landscape and by the time you finish that
you find yourself down at the other end of your studio near the door out onto the terrace
so you go out onto the terrace
and sit at the little table there overlooking the vineyard because by then it’s time for lunch
and your wife brings you a sandwich
and maybe a little glass of beaume de venise and after lunch
you make love for the rest of the afternoon. That’s the life I have in mind.
That’s the life I have in mind, too.
I would live it with you.