Three Poems

Alison Eastley

A wing at night
Photo Credit: (Alex)

Watching the moon from different places

Rise and fall,
rise and fall. Leonard walks down the steep track
that leads to the sea. It is as warm as it is secure. It is
a sensation
I watch it rise and fall, rise
and fall. It’s not like when Harry phoned and asked me to go

outside and together we watched the swollen moon, he from his place,
and me from mine and there we were, outside and watching
the soft velvet moon and it’s not
like Peter delivering an egg-and-bacon pie.
The pie is warm, the pastry rich and buttery, crisp and soft and it’s not
like listening, really listening.

There is only my breathing. Rise
and fall,
rise and fall I recognise this is my right to choose
without your reflection shattering
the moon into absence,
another day at the mercy of love and other blindness.



Past the villa of mysteries, past the hero-temple on the highway,
there is a number on a letter-box. Up the softly curving
gravel road there is no ancient history. The nighttime rites
bury the sacrifice of morning light. I could be reading Homer
but I’m not. Communication shouldn’t be a translation
although I must admit I enjoy the twists and turns of any journey
even if you forget to mention it ended on some island where ghosts
and immortality cling. Do you think you’re the only one who
chooses silence over unkindness? I can bite my lips till they bleed
into the video of you and me. It was beautiful then. It is beautiful
now as I circle your palm with a kiss. Keep your hand open
for I have nothing to hold but the memory of night.


Barely blue, tingling

I noticed how much light there still is in the darkness
for there is no tapestry as magnificent as that deep brown
red in the glow of autumn evening sun, tempered by the trees
a skirt catches the light, a shadow falls, a dark silhouette
of a man appears above the undergrowth of sleepless dreams.

In my personal hell I woke this morning
half-asleep in that strange I’m-still-waking stage and thought of you
and at the moment
of thinking and not really aware what I was thinking
I had this strong sense of wanting you. The color, dear Vincent
is hostage-held delusional blue.

A woman’s breast molds itself against the sky…
in the half-light of the deep shadow tone they look like terracotta
figures being modeled in a studio. Often,
I think of you tied to every cloud a ribbon my fingers
stretch in the morning I lie on my back, warm from the earth.

I’m left with this lingering sense of oh, I know what this is.
It’s all part of the process; I’m aware
of it and let it go,
then rationalize my thoughts the color, dear
Vincent, is the prisoner can’t escape dark violent blue.

Sometimes there is a mild melancholy
in the falling leaves,
in the muted light
in the haziness
of things …are you getting any sleep?

You can’t always say what it is that shuts
you up, what walls
you in, what seems to bury you alive,
but you still feel some kind
of bar, some kind of cage,
some kind of wall. Do you
know what makes the prison disappear?
It is every deep affection the color, dear
Vincent, is the mirror in the ceiling over the bed
3AM blue.

People don’t mean badly,
they just don’t understand it all and probably
think I am mad
when they see me draw in large lines
and scratches
that don’t mean anything to them.

Nothing has changed over one hundred years.
Often it starts when the desire to be understood
changes into the desire to take sides.
I keep reminding
myself to be gentle as the color, dear
Vincent is it’s all over now baby blue.

Yesterday I heard someone behind me say, “Now,
what kind of painter is that, he draws
the horse’s behind instead of his front.”
I was rather amused by that. I enjoy
making sketches in the street. On a more serious
note, I wonder how you are going
with it all. Have you thought of other things here
that you left? I can drop them off anytime
I am so covered in paint that some has even
got onto this letter.

In the night
the light casts a heart
felt arterial shudder in the dark I’m all kinds of woman
you forgot it didn’t have to end
this way. As for my belongings, they can stay on the shelf
but I’d like you to return my hope and fear I want you
barely blue, tingling dear
Vincent, there is more elegance in those slender trees
closer than the dogged memory mongrels
always walk away.

(Extracts of Vincent van Gogh’s Letters #133, #228, #229 and #230 are included in this poem.)


Alison Eastley lives in Tasmania, Australia where she dreams she is Vincent van Gogh’s undiscovered, secret wife reading one of his hand-written letters, heavy from the blast from the sun dune it topples her books, his wet canvases and this is better than the truth of being the ex-girlfriend of a cross-dresser who has more shoes than she does. Email: alison_eastley[at]

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