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Papeete Poem .mp3



There's no escaping it
and to survive
you've got to drive the sad
romanticism from your heart
the wonder at what joy, what
sweet vaginal pacific bliss
what pelvic tender mercies
Annah the Javanese might be—
Gauguin in a bar fight for her
had his ankle stomped
someone had been rude
and back from the hospital
he found Annah
had cleaned out his studio
and left. Later, he wrote
his friend in France "My broken
ankle causes me great pain; I have
open sores that the doctor hasn't succeeded
in healing, and in the tropics
it's no joke"
You can't go to Papeete
without thinking of Gauguin—
When Gauguin's daughter died he stopped
writing his wife
he had trouble with money
and the authorities
and syphilis
the rot and fever and stunning
stunning solitude in that tiny
hut on Hiva Oa
becalmed at last under the
vast and aching sky—
His last picture showed a Breton Village
Under Snow
and his boldest portrait
masterwork of sensual repose
showed Annah the Javanese
in a blue chair

–Tony Quagliano