Being Vincent Van Gogh
On the day before the Parade:
I fastened the handles on the golden Frame
with great difficulty, gilded the protruding screws,
located and steamed the turquoise velvet outfit,
and found the sunflower brooch.
I had previously grown out the side parts
of my beard and dyed it orange in order
to be Vincent Van Gogh: a walking painting.
I had thought it would be great if a group of Artists
were to come as either their own artworks
or other famous paintings or sculptures.
We would be an Artwalk where instead of the people walking
by the Art, the Art would walk past the people.
On the day of the Fremont Solstice Parade,
the make-up was truly like oil paint as
I built up the layers into a reasonable
facsimile of Vincent's self-portrait
with brushes which gunked up,
sponges that disintegrated,
difficulties with hair-sprays
and a bobby pin which despite
the efforts of many people resisted
all attempts to restrain my beard or
remain invisible during my time as
Vincent. At last I had to be satisfied
with my efforts and began my Walk.
I walked downtown and curiously enough
very few people looked my way or even looked
like people trying to get to the Parade,
I chose a number Fifteen bus to Ballard,
(instead of my usual number Seventeen)
walked across the bridge along with the throngs
and walked another mile along the Burke-Gilman
to join the colorful chaos of the staging area.
I found the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
first and then I saw other that I knew
finally my friends with the Emerald City
Social Club that I usually walked with appeared,
but not unsurprisingly none of those
I had invited to be a Work of Art with me.
Margo made me look comparatively tame
in comparison with her Electric Blue body suit
which had 1200 Fluorescent Green earplugs hot-glued
to it in addition to her Fluorescent Pink heels
and two bubble guns, only one of which worked.
She got the majority of attention after we jumped
in following the Phoenix group and before
a Dance & Drum group because we found
that it's necessary to have good music going
to keep everything moving along pleasantly.
Vincent and I had our admirers among the crowds,
most of which got who or what I was,
though some called me Picasso or Miro
and I had to correct their mistaken impression.
I was repeatedly told that "I had been framed!"
and of course, I got the thing about the ear.
With the Frame, I was able to coax a few people
from the crowd and be in the picture with me.
This included children as well as adventurous
teens and adults who enjoyed the opportunity
to be part of the action if only briefly.
The handles on the Frame were not so easy
on my hands which cramped-up and the sly brass
numbed my fingers and even on the next day,
my left index finger remains partially numb
and wasn't the only consequence of my Parading.
The Fremont Solstice Parade is about two miles long
and by the time my section of it had reached Gasworks,
I was glad I didn't have to hold up the frame anymore as
my fingertips were now numb and my feet were buzzing
with that peculiar energy which comes from dancing,
standing still for the cameras and just being part
of the whole extravaganza.
As was my Solstice tradition, I walked back along the
Parade route to view those acts which had followed mine.
Then having done my bit to bring in Summer, I left Fremont
and the Fair foregoing the no doubt lengthy
waits for packed buses and began my long walk
home by way of a path next to Lake Union with
the Frame digging its way into my shoulders.
I went through the new-to-me Maritime Park,
past the geese, over a bridge, past a Naval building
now shuttered that I had welcomed one New Years Eve in,
by the Center For Wooden Boats and its seemingly
attendant Orange canopies in a Park still in formation.
From there I made my way through the Mercer Mess
up Fairview contemplating finding a meal, but those
places I found along the way were either closed,
uninteresting or nonexistent and I continued on up
that last and steepest stretch: Denny Hill walking
8 1/2 miles altogether for the day all in the name of Art.
Then I hung out with friends to give my feet a rest
while they wondered why I didn't remove my make-up.
Having had nothing to eat except cereal, I planned
to go out one last time to a well deserved dinner as
Vincent Van Gogh complete with my Frame, I chose
Julia's on Broadway as my spot to hang out at.
Unfortunately, they had no Absinthe with which
to add that touch of verisimilitude at the Green Hour,
so I had a Lemon Drop instead and a pasta dish
to satisfy my appetite and energy needs though
like earlier in the day relatively few even glanced in.
I had learned a few years back to avoid eating the food
at the Fair after having been blessed with Food Poisoning
from improperly made or cooked Crab Cakes which caused me
to projectile vomit and pass out three times each,
I had also learned the futility of eating in a
well-established restaurant there which were packed with
Fremont Fair-Goers and had their own harried staffs.
On the way back from Julia's, I found a pack of
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence outside of C.C. Attles
where my Frame provided numerous Photo Ops
for everyone who wanted to get into the picture
one last time. I went home and began to bid farewell
to Vincent Van Gogh with cleansing pads and a bath.
Purple Mark, Randomly Accessed Poetics, June, 2017.