"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).

“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.