3 July 1889 – a Wednesday

Bulwork — Saint-Rémy;
angel contra hopelessness —
frantic ink filed strokes 1

© rl busséll 2019 – All rights reserved

  1. or in some strange figure of an angel as in the painting you had the good fortune to see Letter 784

Background image: Blossoming Almond Tree by Vincent van Gogh, Oil on Canvas, Saint-Rémy, France: February, 1890, Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Galleries Galore

His hand cradled hers;
Hers are swallowed in his.
Her delicate fingers found safety.
His rough calluses found purpose.

No agenda.
No timetable.
No watch.
No phone.
Only them alone.
Alone, together among the masses.

Happiness sat upon his shoulders.
Wonder captured her eye and his.
’Twas the wonder of passing wonder on to his,
’twas the wonder of two and generations.

This is their time to stare.
This is their time to see.
This is their time to be.

And all the sounds of busy,
they had no ill effects.

Monet and Modigliani are
cradled under arcs of light,
softly it’s spilled round.
Muted foot-falls and hushed breaths
were all that they could sound.

Her neck was stretched
in Modigliani style
to see what could be seen;
It was if all that “The Greek”
could teach was, in her, made flesh.

Claude’s colors were splashed
on canvas large
in haphazard order,
that caused Beauty to bend
her haughty eyes to drink.

This is their time to stare.
This is their time to see.
This is their time to be.

Mr. Well’s machine is seen in
these vaulted halls of frames.
Each brushstroke takes us back,
and the dust of centuries laid on linen fair
can be seen by anyone who takes the time to stare.

© rl busséll 2019 – All rights reserved.

(detail- darkened) The Vision of Saint John - by El Greco (Doménikos Theotokópoulos) 87.5 × 76 inch Oil on canvas

Take a Walk

I take the silent step.
Keep my eyes up,
not looking to the broken ground.

I try to take a walk.
I try to keep from talk.
I try to still the clock.

You know the feeling.
You know that feeling,
when Picasso’s time 1
is spread wide and thick,
when the wind never seems
to go your way.

You try to catch your breath;
and it comes in fits and starts,
and it comes in flames and sparks,
and it comes in warring larks.

And then it fades.

You know the feeling.
You know that feeling,
when El Greco’s stretch, 2
seems real and right;
when proportions’ light
seems off, and not just by a mite,
and your limbs, they scream and bite.

They scream and bite,
and you’re stuck,
forever stuck on the bridge
with Munch, 3
and the screaming never stops.
You know that feeling.
You know the feeling.

© rl busséll 2018

The Vision of Saint John - by El Greco (Doménikos Theotokópoulos) 87.5 × 76 inch Oil on canvas

The Vision of Saint John – by El Greco (Doménikos Theotokópoulos) 87.5 × 76 inch oil on canvas (1608–1614 New York, Metropolitan Museum)

  1. Picasso’s “Blue Period” 1901-1904 http://www.artic.edu/collections/conservation/revealing-picasso-conservation-project/pablo-picasso-and-blue-period
  2. Domenikos Theotokopoulos (1541-1614) “El Greco” known for his elongated figures he is believed to be a precursor to Expressionism and Cubism. http://www.elgreco.net
  3. Edvard Munch (1863-1944) Norwegian Expressionist his most famous painting is titled “The Scream” (1893) Upon his death he bequeathed all his works in his possession to the City of Olso. Munch Museum was built to house them in 1963.https://www.theartstory.org/artist-munch-edvard-artworks.htm


He had a particular gait — somewhere between Igor and Sasquatch; a shuffle that spoke of strength. He held his head high and with a toothy grin smiled his way into my life. I had to capture his stance. I had to picture his stand. How he held himself with honor and looked you straight in the eyes.
There are people that affect you, people that touch your life in untold ways, strangers that become friends, friends that become strangers. You never know who will change you. You never know the faces you’ll remember. What makes a person stick to you? What makes a person change the trajectory of your life? What butterfly’s wing will ripple your life? How many people have touched you? How many people have you touched? Honor does not lie in intelligence alone. Honor does not always sleep in the corridors of the powerful. There is honor in the small and quiet, there is honor in the ignored, weak, and forgotten. I am affected still by the shuffle-walk, haunted by hands held just so. So I honor him now by showing the world his face.

portrait 02 - detail © rl busséll 1982

portrait 02 – detail © rl busséll 1982 Oil on Canvas

portrait 02 - detail © rl busséll 1982

portrait 02 – detail © rl busséll 1982 Oil on Canvas

portrait 02 - detail © rl busséll 1982

portrait 02 – © rl busséll 1982 Oil on Canvas



I need to take a break from posting poetry for a while. I’ve had a productive year. I need to decide how to go forward. So I thought I would concentrate on the visual arts.

Years ago I worked at a home for the mentally disabled. It was a gloomy-happy place, a kind of box that locked away all, so that the world would garner no joy from its residents. The building had all the characteristics that come with such institutions: flickering florescent lights, wide dark hallways, and a quiet foreboding paleness. Yet, I have good memories of the people and the place. Despite their dire circumstances, they were, for the most part, joyful. Joy could be seen on their faces, in their eyes and in their unpretentious laughter; there was no one to impress, there was no one ingratiate, they had the freedom to be themselves.

I will be forever touched by the men and women that could not take care of themselves; by a people who could never grow up. People are not less honorable because their minds and their bodies do not grow at the same rate. There is a dignity in the face of a child-old. There is hope in a simple faith. God is not bound by our circumstances.

This is a thirty-six-year-old painting of one of my charges. Painted alla prima, a method that helps produce fast oil sketches, impressions of impressions. It is done in one sitting. It doesn’t have to be thought about too much, doesn’t have be over-planned. I love this painting.

He speaks to me even after all the passing years. I can still hear his soft stammering mumble, see his gentle eyes and feel his big fingers softly touching my shoulder. His smile filled his face. He was a good man.

“Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” — Mark 10:14-15


Oil on Canvas © rl busséll 1982

© rl busséll Portrait Oil on canvas. (Detail)

© rl busséll – 1982 Portrait Oil on canvas. (Detail)