For the Love

in the basement of a colorado bungalow
in drywall plaster sculpted
with a cheapass trowel from home depot
my honorific oblige to van Gough
*starry night* in relief
not simply to his opus
but to the life the man the mania
art for art and beauties’ sake
because life is light flung against
dark nothing and the light will out
it finds a way through leonard cohen cracks
through pinholes and brush strokes
through seams dissected by poets
sculptors architects composers
fueled ever by love
love of the art, of the self, of light and life
love of a woman all women
love of a man all men
love of humanity and being
human . . . .

David M Pitchford
11 Feb 2014


Thin Lines and High Roads

it’s all candlelight against infinite
darkness           deadfall into oblivion   .  .  .
a kiss in gethsemane’s back alley
one betrayal on the way to martyrdom
roman lash across the shoulders     salted
venom rubbed to wound the wounded     insult
to injury all in the name of wasted
passion sinking like blood into time’s sands.

yet who can refuse the next breath of life
given its mysterious alternative
terrifying in the face of aspirations
dreams and longings and gloried ambitions
even the love of the moment of sunshine
or the joy of drenching in a soft spring rain   .  .  .

Foolish Poet

he said he wanted an angel to love
him and give him reason to live,   some sweet
muse to inspire his art and drive him forward
toward aspirations of immortality
in paint and ink.        love after love affair
he searched for her and begged the heavens,   gods,
to send him the one,   the only,   his true
angel.     he bargained and blustered endlessly.

fleeing from his own strange sodom,   he gazed
back over his shoulder to see heaven
and his angel waving goodbye in his
rearview mirror,    rented truck turning to
salt and his vows blazing before him,   hell
his own creation of denial and grief.

Sins of Sainthood

in a poem you say we are not saints
but fucking artists; it raises questions:
are all saints programmatic to those so
cookie-cutter religions?     what of we
whose religion is art, each work raised up
a prayer to creativity itself,
our faith in the shared soul whose expression
is art in all its queer diversity,
its wondrous, luscious digressions and stern
insistence on a mercuric norm blown
by seasonal whims and the evolution
of intelligences   —   intuitive,
physical,  intellectual,  all   —   art
calls us to be saints of a different virtue.

David M Pitchford
19 Dec 2011


I keep grasping at the words, these visions;
today they have taken me to                egypt
inside chicago’s art institute,      off
to  moscow  to discover some new to me
painter,   anna vinogradova,   who paints
what my canvas tells me I will never
and yet my heart commands paint paint paint, push
the brush, the trowel, the knife, dig in your
fingers and spread the colors!        words take me
there and beyond, into oddly beautiful
people first and secondhand   —   because words
are magic portals through which we travel
from sign to, not the thing itself, but the
experience of the thing, vicarious.

David M Pitchford
3 Dec 2011


Hero's Final Vigil

Hero's Final Vigil



The distance between you-and-me is less
than the ens and ems between these letters,
yet in the minds’ eye, Planck’s scale grows too vast
a chasm; illusion clouds thought, thought clouds
heart and head alike. We part never to
touch again—Hero losing Leander,
whose delusion of drowning blinds him to
her lamp evermore. The drowned cannot swim
nor circumnavigate the Hellespont . . .

I am no Leander, she no Hero,
and yet we play the drama, live their myth
as though that were real to this world. Love dies
a million deaths in such tragedies—Oh!
But love births itself a billion times in Life! 

©David M Pitchford
10 April 2009

Rokeby Venus: Ekphrastic Sonnet

"Rokeby Venus" by Diego Velasquez c. 1650

"Rokeby Venus" by Diego Velasquez c. 1650

What Within the Looking Glass?

Is it truth you see within your looking
glass? Or merely that shallow reflection,
that skin-deep self, flesh manifestation
engineered of cells divided, cooking
DNA’s unique recipe—working
toward our next, our better(?), evolution,
and victim to fortune’s machination
toward Nature’s mysterious re-making?

Venus, do you see your truth? Burning flame
lit by unseen sun, burning bright within
eyes shadowed by doubt, self-immolation
to protest yesterday’s beauty—that same
beauty as marks you today, looks akin
to Ideal, yet perceived sans admiration?

David M Pitchford
6 December 2008