« Wendy Lotterman | Contents | Justin Carter »

Jake Syersak

A Note on “The Sunflower’s Err”:

What began as an ekphrastic poem about van Gogh’s Les Tournesols eventually turned into an attempt to relate more personally to the life-long mental anguish and loneliness he suffered from. The idea was to use his work as a window into pain but keep enough distance so that the original images—his paintings—would fall away as needed accompaniment. I’d been interested for some time in how visual images could translate into written text. The experiment here was to keep the translator center stage in the midst of translation.

 

 

The Sunflower’s Err

 

“we don’t regret error. It is our emotional house.”

–Lisa Robertson

 

(1)

 

Is there chaos

enough

in van Gogh’s eye,

 

his sunflowers

 (Les Tournesols),

 

will allow entrance

to my own—

 

this alias, avatar, flamed

asterisk, tongued

 

through someone else’s

sun, will turn me

 

tournesol, a flower’s misfire

of autumn’s

 

motley, so

I can radiate

 

outward yellow avarice

in every tense,

 

sidewind a warm

conduit to portals

 

of laughter

& allow

 

laughter itself

a portal its own

 

(2)

 

It’s the autumn

menstruates

 

like violin

bows

 

a body

via writ note,

 

damns the husk

in a land-

 

scape’s thirst.

One way a mirror

 

sucks another’s

burnt-sienna; or an

 

instrument fills

with volume the space

 

it inhabits; or

a landscapist’s orangerie

 

all the spectrums of

rouge: all dryly

 

watered vessels

of jewels’ facets,

 

the intrinsic

of tea

 

leaves’ spectral

& inherent blooms

 

(2)

 

The autumn

menstruates

 

like violin

bows

 

a body

via writ note,

 

damns the husk

in a land-

 

scape’s thirst.

One way a mirror

 

sucks another’s

burnt-sienna, orangerie

 

of spectrums, of

rouge, dryly

 

watering

like a jewel

 

the intrinsic

into tea

 

leaves’ spectral

blooms

 

 

(3)

 

In every painting’s

brushstroke,

 

a scoliosis, the worthy

inheritor

 

of (perhaps) the harshest

question marks.

 

like an error,

 

I am heir to the sunflower.

A misnomer,

 

the limnal accrual

of anchors,

 

the every

verb my phantom

 

limbs inhabit

to raze

 

*

 

Have you seen

those houses

 

van Gogh painted

 

in Arles, a year or

two before he died?

 

How less skewed, how

less vibrant, burnt

 

far less vividly

than any done in Auvers.

 

It begs a question:

if death exists

 

or accrues a priori

through us,

 

combing through

us such exquisite,

preliminary,

 

in-

explicitly soft

exits,

 

how much of us

is hush   /   

 

husk?

 

 

(4)

 

Yes I want degrees

of err to overtake

 

erasure, mine error,

insights

 

into my insides:

 

Bend wind

like a reed’s agency

 

more rotund

symmetries of thirst,

 

thirst to coif

a clef

 

& hear a leaf

curl autumn,

 

to automate the way

an apple hangs

 

a tree, the one true

sex of geometry:

 

the only fruit

reality’s sequins

 

won’t assign

a flesh to

 

 

 (5)

 

To dye an

eye into

 

my emergency,

I’ve crafted

 

a sunflower,

borrowed resiliency

 

to wearing

reality’s tense:

 

& this house

I choose

 

in not to sound

 

sounds in—

to hither a refract

 

& escape via

the acoustic’s,

 

that quasi-solar

globule, fired

 

rising

 

from summers

wherein

 

the sun’ll

never debt

« Wendy Lotterman | Contents | Justin Carter »