"Night Café"

"Starry Night"

Anton Pooles

Anton Pooles was born in Novosibirsk, Siberia, and lives in Toronto. He is a graduate of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Toronto and the author of the chapbook Monster 36 (Anstruther Press, 2018).

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"These poems are inspired by the works of Vincent Van Gogh. 'Night Café' also draws on a letter Vincent wrote to his brother, Theo Van Gogh, on September 8, 1888, during Vincent's six-month stay in Arles."

     Night Prowlers do not care about time and time does not care about them;

     it moves forward regardless.

     They refuse to accept the new day, as do I — though I may give in when my bottle is empty.

     The Café is dangerous after midnight; there is a clash and contrast of the most alien 

     reds and greens. Colours compete as people do.


     I made a painting of the café in hopes of understanding the rivalry of colours.

     It is one of the ugliest I have done and it makes me sick to my stomach.

     Ginoux asked me if I’m feeling alright, I answered — yes, I’m fine,

     but the colours grow violent.

     In June
     the night sky is richly coloured

     like an ocean

     where Venus flaunts her white light

     and a lemon-like moon shines

     from beneath foaming waves.

     Someone, perhaps God, has

     lit ten lanterns —

     guiding lights that I ignore

     in favour of the waves.

     I dream up a whole town

     of sleepless people.

     Together we watch

     the waves come down

     upon us, and for once

     I am not the only one

     without breath.

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