when they talk about the tortured genius,
somebody always brings up van gogh—
how he swallowed yellow paint because
he wanted to put the sunshine inside himself.
how his psychosis was probably
the result of lead poisoning.
they call him a miracle, but what i see is a man
who was so sad, he found a beautiful way
to kill himself.
they say, “it’s awful isn’t it?” “it’s always the talented ones who go before their time.”
and me, a nine year old kid
who’s always been told they were so
wonders when i'm going to die.
we study them in school, the tortured artists.
look at all the poets who killed themselves
what would their work have been without their depression?
it’s beautiful, isn’t it sad?
as if depression is a parlor trick—
pull it out at parties, impress all your friends.
as if depression isn’t seeing how long
you can go between showers
before somebody notices or
pizza rolls for dinner three nights in a row
and then nothing the night after,
because going to the store is an impossibility
that you've not yet gathered the courage to conquer.
it is the least beautiful thing i’ve ever seen
and we call it the mark of an artist
to stand in the center of an ocean
and see nothing but desert.
depression is the yellow paint, the yellow paint,
the yellow paint, the yellow paint,
the yellow paint, the yellow paint—
art is a coping mechanism.
van gogh is good because when he had nothing,
he had paint. when he was empty, he had paint.
when the world was awful, he had paint.
when he hated himself, he didn’t hate the paint.
he whitewashed over his own masterpieces,
because it was never about being famous,
it was about doing the one thing
that made sense when everything else didn’t.
and they say, “without his illness, we
never would've gotten all—this.”
because they value his art more than his sanity
because god forbid you lead a happy life
and leave nothing to remember you by." - Ashe Vernon, Vincent
artwork by @wer0ni