Michael Vitaly

theatre maker, writer, artist

Month: March, 2012

VanGogh’s Oleanders

Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) Oil on canvas









Leaning towards the breezy open window
Open faces do greet me cheery so.
Rose-cheeked crimson faces and blood flushed
Caressed by silken pinks and puffs of white
Like clouds on green agave
Cling embraced inside your favorite pitcher.

There’s your book of lines and my book of words
Precariously set on the corner of carelessness, nap time, and
Bathed in afternoon reaching towards dusk

Somehow begging to be sought after in a furious state of inspiration
Together forever united in time.

Free Write

hello from the night time once again.
across the seas of night so thick
and stars so hot to pierce the blackness.
cut me open and pour me out,
on the canvas with stars for hooks
and let my insides rise and shout
and call to death and life for thee.
“hello from the night time once again my once and future true best friend”
for it is in life that we forget
the coming call of bets to collect.
and it is in death that we refuse
to do anything of what it dare choose.
For it chooses you and calls your name
you know it most as the deep dark pain,
the something calling from the start
long ago and far away
the time and judgment
that did not stay.
It did enliven
your games as kids
fake guns and swords
or just fake sand
playing on the beach
in just your living room.What is it to truly live?
To live without the thought of pain
To give with only love to blame.
To listen to the earth
when it calls your name
and the animals and trees
and the blades of little grass.
The skies so massive
The clouds like mountains
and mountains capped
like jagged teeth
of a snoring monster.Up from the depths
of your imagination
life does create
a marvelous thing.And when do we go there?
To that place called imagination?
in times of need
in times of stress
in times of leisure
when life seems best?
And when do we
think on death?
At night, in darkness
in the call of unknown.
“Wish I could climb
up the rungs of a ladder
for days — wouldn’t mind —
just so’s I could see into the future.”
Death at night the fall of day
How else should we proclaim it say!
Death during sunny beautiful afternoons?
And why not?  I’m sure it’s happened once at least.
But why then should we worry
where or when.
On what then should we think?
On the inbetween.
Gray sheets and bedfellows so new.
Living for loving’s sake and giving for life’s sake.
This world has already given me so much.
I am already so lucky..
I must give back.
For if you give.
The world will be open to you.
If you share
the sun will shine.
And you will shine too.
— free write

Four days away

Four days away
and you’re out of the way –
Longing to get rid of you
for April is my girl –
When first She kissed me
under lilac blossoms
and sliver crescent moon.
And all the world did fade away.


Four days away
and how did you begin?
March many-weathers?
That I do remember,
And budding blossoms now
vibrating, fuzzy with anticipation,
fighting against some wicked wind
brittle cold and broad.


Four days away
And I’ll never forget
the March I had before Her,
when I didn’t know any better
and I didn’t know Her that way.
How fog did settle
like ashes on my heart…
Thank you for the wind.


Four days away
Four days indeed.
Trying to distinguish
Want, Love, and Need.
The time I had before Her
The time I had without,
Oh, March of awful gladness,
make me march to find this out.


The Doctor is in the House…


The Doctor is in the House
And all is good in the world,
bones and breath, only matter,
and all the rest is a scratch off ticket —
I could take it or leave it.
Seven Three Four
Trash dance on sidewalks
and I walk home up the hill passing Convent Garden.

People make the world go ‘round
but walls keep crumbling down
and the coup is all but set

Like the stars slipping out of place
When you touch my hand
I’m falling hard for you
Baby hold on to me because I’m going places and I want you with me
And I want to be there…
Nine four three ok bring it slowly
it’s moving day and we’re moving on out
taking it slow — you just don’t know —
and one step at a time

There’s a playground I walk passed
pretty much every day.
There’s a few I can pass depending on how I walk

Take it to the tracks
Take it falling off the hard place where the snow
clamored towards your heart outside your window.
winter’s wrath as beautiful as silk
falling about your expectant hands,
You were mine and I was yours and some helter skelter
owned us too.
Hey, Wait a minute..
This snow shouldn’t insert herself in my memory now.
It’s the first throes of spring…


Thanks to the marvels of modern technology I get to share music and tweets with Snoop Dogg.  These lines were a free write to the link above.  I basically wrote my lines with the first 12 minutes of his song.  One of many on Snoop’s channel.  Have you ever been to the SoundCloud? I have a channel myself.

Take it to the bridge. Yeah Snoop.

MichaelV coming back at you

Thanx for the tunes.



*note: seven three four and nine four three refer to the time on the sound byte I was writing with.  They came out in my writing and sounded fun with the words.

The Plight of the Poet

Something deep inside these ancient tracks keeps
us safe to hide while holding on. Feeling
too much, seeing it all. At least all you
can see, because you know you know nothing.

So something tender clings to you like your
favorite pair of jeans, knowing your thigh and
your seat so well.  Remember when you knew
her well. Her body like that. So close and
so tender. You both knew each other and
the world didn’t matter.

When did the world come crashing in? When did
we let go of the sails and just give in?
I want to swim to you I want you to
see me. As you once saw me.  Can that be?

Where eyes once burned so clearly for me that
now beyond them I don’t know what will be
because I can’t see a thing but this pen.
I cling to my words and my memories
And suppose I’m happy just to have been
part of your life and you a part of mine.

Something tender clings, something deep inside
that stirs sleepless nights from me and takes me
to places within myself I didn’t
know I had.  I guess there’s a journey in that.

And plenty of writing to do.

Rachmaninov and the dog

Rachmaninoff and the dog.

I sort of wrestle Jake to the comforter where I had been pointing

And I guess he understood because the next thing I know he was
burrowing and scraping away nesting and plopping himself down
starting to pant joyously, only to rise, circle around, pant, and land once more.

He wanted a mother hen to plant herself for the night.

I was so nervous for tomorrow that I barely let myself concentrate on the material too long
lest it lose its virility in the first few times and first instincts.

There rests a stress ball from my day’s misadventures.

I wandered in off the street, early to meet my friend at the corner of 42nd and Lexington,
and went right upstairs to which ever escalator or colored hallway would lead me.
I finally stumbled into a long hall-like ballroom flanked with pillars,
like guards against the line to see Princess Catherine.

I walked right up to the table where name tags lay resting before me.
I sort of hummed and notice the girl behind the table set up as some welcome booth.

I said hello and she asked me if I saw my name or who I was with,
I offered my name as well as that of my friend of some legitimacy in the world.

Rachmaninoff still plays on, who knows; this could be anybody by now.
Those keys fall in place along the sinews of my heart,
fibers of my being, lasting muscle walls attached to eyelids
keeping me up and wondering at this dwindling hour of the night.

The dog still rests by my side, his breathing seems faster than it should be
and I’m afraid it’s from the part of the stress ball he ate this afternoon.
Jason had given him the stress ball I had gotten for him, it was a baseball.
Of course he ate it. He’s an animal.

Today I felt like an animal. Rounding the corners of tall buildings I wasn’t familiar with,
like a stray picking up scents in the air. I stumbled upon the public library
and got a few things. Correspondence by Sylvia Plath, for J____.
A book by Zola, called GERMINAL… and still this music plays on.

A plaintive melody adding flourishes as it progresses.
Like a scene coming to you in memory one breath at a time,
a featureless landscape coming through the mesh of morning;
Where did I sleep tonight? Ah yes, I remember.

So, I was early to meet a friend and I walked in to this Hemophilia awareness conference.
It was very interesting to say the least.
I suppose everyone was doctors or people with the disease in the field.
At one point a woman assumed I had the disease
and asked me who provided me with home care.

I think doggie is sick. It seems he’s still panting and I can tell his thicker undercoat is a little sweaty.


This piano that fills my blood. With drops like moonshine on odorless sidewalks
flanking sidewalks and steel barricades. Along apartments and stooped fences.
Dancing on, this night rears its ugly head and I know too well I can go to her.
I know too well how good it is in her unassuming arms. To really belong.

But damnit if this plays on within me like bubbling hot water lava.

Black asphalt metal rusty tracks brown with age

Pits so black electric currents call to you through the night.


At one point just as I was considering leaving,
after rounding all the tables with their swag and information:
free stuff, candies, back slings, pens and stressballs.
I picked up two stress balls and a couple of snickers bars
along with a children’s picture book on a healthy diet.

I saw the doctor who was giving the talk when I came in.

“Thank you so much Doctor,”
“oh,” he interrupts, “thanks.”
“It’s nice to know we’re all in the same boat.”
“Just so long as it’s not a sinking boat!” he chimes in
“oh no, not with all these people around!” I retort,
for I thought the whole thing absurd.
Medicine. What did they know but the way to more problems?

So what? Shine a light on anything long enough,
look at something deep enough, observe truly, openly
and really see all there is to see and you shall see
the cracks.

For nothing is perfect as it first seems –
The dog seems a little calmer
Zola stands marked off at page 10 and a half.
And that piano twinkles wickedly on.

Falling like stars in sewers
Rushing Carriages horse hooves over cobble stones.
Crashing into a turning troika .
And it is finished.

April. By Lucien Pisarro


Lines upon first viewing.

With the whisper of Queen Anne’s Lace against the tall grass of the pastures the Spring had sprung and I was off to your house once more. Your town greeted me as I rounded the hill to the road that led me to you. The trees danced on with fervent fibrous velvety buds biding their time and loving life. I see them once more but you no longer are by my side. #TheOne

@Tate: Spring has sprung… our Work of the Week is Epping, April by Lucien Pissarro http://t.co/VeugBtMW Read more… http://t.co/LSvBGT4w


Gliding under years of progress,
clanking starting ever more
Catching hold of winter’s sadness
Letting go within the fold.

The Shepard takes your hand and guides you there,
the spirit lifts you up and lights your fire,
and think in the least and the father will provide.

Take these words from me
For I need some supplication,
Forgiveness for what I’ve done.
Nothing bad just lost the love of my life.

And there are moments in the shower or kitchen, this morning in particular,
When she comes to me in passing
As if she’s no ghost of memory at all
Just simply going to the bathroom in the morning.
There’s nothing wrong with that
She’s finding herself too.
Taking time for the things that need the most in life.
Yourself. Selfish as it may seem,
If we don’t take care of ourselves
How are we to take care of others?

The train takes over or at least interrupts.
81st street. Next stop will be yours.
And god leads me to total subconscious
Taking me and making me feel you so far away.

Like ships between different currents
Wading deeper as we go
Hold me under I’ll tear asunder
The sail when it’s time to go.

And as we settle I view us passing
With the little dog upstairs
Just come from the park on our day off
In comes tourists and I’m underground again.

And do I tread, gliding.
Gliding into air. Air and space
A museum we’ve never been to together.
What are you up to now?

I wrote to you from the other side,
Did you receive my letter?
It was sent express over the wire
I’m sure it got lost in translation.

I’m off to get work.
And think of you.

There aren’t rocks to throw.
There are only rocks with which to build.

Sharing a Meal

We never seem to finish what we order when we go out to dinner. It’s like when we were first in love.

Sylvia Plath

On St. Patrick’s Day morning you would not have found me knee deep in green beer like some of New York no doubt was doing, especially the revelers I passed near Grand Central that morning. Instead I decided to get up early for some sunshine and vicambulation. It was rather sunny and I remember feeling like a dog being led by his nose around a city I didn’t know — I don’t usually frequent that part of town — and I found myself in a library. I picked up some Gertrude Stein, Emile Zola, and Sylvia Plath. I have enjoyed the words of Sylvia Plath ever since Ariel and The Bell Jar, her mind and heart seem to find words that play harmoniously with my heartstrings, and I was excited to read what she had to say in Letters Home, an extensive record of her correspondence from 1950 to 1963. I spent much of the time just opening it up wherever and pouring through letters like opening a little pocket of time, being a flea on the post office hound, sneaking into each letter at night when the day sorters were gone for the evening and the delivery trucks had yet to arrive. She does include plenty of “snatches of verse” especially when writing her mother, at one point saying, “tell me what you think of these poems . . . any resemblance to Emily Dickinson is purely intentional.”

Within this set of the Dickinson-esque she included on April 30, 1953 there was one entitled “Verbal Calisthenics”; I was hooked by its first line:

My love for you is more
Athletic than a verb,
Agile as a star
The tents of sun absorb.

Treading circus tightropes
Of each syllable,
The brazen jackanapes
Would fracture if he fell.

Acrobat of space
The daring adjective
Plunges for a phrase
Describing arcs of love.

Nimble as a noun,
He catapults in air;
A planetary swoon
Could climax his career.

But adroit conjunction
Eloquently shall
Link to his lyric action
A periodic goal.





I wrote a song to it. I included a little chorus from a young man who misses someone he loves. The chorus I made up is a simple riff any cowboy with a guitar would make up around a campfire, I sort of imagined a young poet writing about the beauty of words and their prolific power, and during his song getting carried away in his reverie of “Love, sweet love”…

Words can take you a world away and right face to face with beauty unimaginable. And for every poet, I think it is our “periodic goal” to lay down words on paper as adroitly or eloquently as we can, as we see fit. Aside from all the Romantic aspects I’ve wrung from it, the words themselves fall out so freely but not without some doing, Sylvia Plath combines some mouthfuls. And her repetition of sounds, alliteration and internal similarities to other words, moving from dental labial fricatives unvoiced then voiced, plosives hard and soft…. try it! Read it out loud and really focus on the internal movements in your mouth. Your tongue does cartwheels!

Anyway, it’s with great respect that I submit these songs inspired by her writing.

The first three being reincarnations of: Verbal Calisthenics starting with the most recent. The final is a Facundo Cabral treatment on one of her poems called “Doom of Exiles”.