the painter standing on a french street at night

your journal entry reads mid-september, 1888

we sit this evening at a table enchanted

two wrought iron chairs pulled too closely together

you document our travels in your leather book as i compose poetry on pieces of blank sheet music sonnets become symphony
upon my grand staff

looking up as you tip the panama on your head playfully too far to the right you inquire as to the identity of my muse

i reveal with a wicked grin
it is the bearded auburn haired man standing in the north eastern corner of the place du forum i am calling it
the painter standing on a french street at night

observing transfixed

such an oddity to see an easel so late

we finish our truffles
whilst concocting theories
as to the picture being created

perhaps he was capturing the lingering majesty of the roman monument across the rue du palais or the horse drawn carriage
with it’s gauzy orange coachlights
certainly the bell tower of the church

but what was his brush to do to replicate
this particular starry night

instead of venturing as planned into the perfume oil shoppe glow next door we agree to go speak to the ethereal man

he begins to smile and slow his task as we approach
asking in second hand french
what he may do for us

we ask to see what he has painted thus far in the lantern light

certainement, as he stepped aside
gesturing us to stand where he had gazed from
it was then we saw his stunning beauteous perspective

it was a spell cast in oil paint

we first see the color of fire
the sulfur yellow of the cafe’s bricks pour shine melting from the lantern light

the reds of the oriental rugs beneath
the tables ran as lava underfoot

the coach and tower we wondered about are in the distance
but we notice he has chosen to omit the stone relic of another empire’s gods

how miraculous that he had managed to perfectly recreate the night sky without the color black his violet blue universe studded with firefly yellow stars

the paving stones of the arles street
became pink and lilac
as the people strolled along
through the oil on canvas

we tell him thank you for the honor of viewing his work

he bows his head
humbled by our admiration
we three warmly exchange names
his is vincent

before we depart, he asks for another moment

kindly look closer he asks

we oblige

we see ourselves sitting under the illuminated gables of his genius sipping coffee and writing poetry
about the colors within

cafe terrace at night

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