about the author

Related to the Marx Brothers through his mother, Richard Marx Weinraub was born in New York City; he was a Professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico from 1987 through 2010. A book of his poetry titled Wonder Bread Hill was published in 2002 by the University of Puerto Rico Press. His poetry has appeared in many journals including The Paris Review, Asheville Poetry Review, South Carolina Review, The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, North American Review, Measure, The Evansville Review, Slate, and River Styx. Three poems of his are forthcoming from The Hat. A Spanish translation of Wonder Bread Hill was published by Terranova Press. A chapbook of his poetry titled Heavenly Bodies was published in 2008 by Poets Wear Prada, and a poem from it was nominated for a 2009 Pushcart Prize. Poets Wear Prada published his full-length book of poems titled Lapidary in 2013.

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The Portrait of Père Tanguy 

Richard Marx Weinraub

Van Gogh’s Japanese
is composed on a series
of haiku-like prints
creating such dazzle that
Julien Tanguy has to squint.

A cherry tree drips
from the top of Mount Fuji
and into his hat;
it has contoured his body
with dragon’s blood. All is flat.

A courtesan bows
in a bass-shaped kimono;
she’s playing herself,
the wooden van Gogh, and the
gallery owner himself.

He’s wringing his hands
in the chiaroscuro
employed by Rembrandt
flashing back to the Commune
he wants to forget but can’t.

Impressionist strokes
and the gifts he gave Vincent
are dashing his head—
patinas of absinthe with
grains of pure Indian red.

In a synthesis
like the last line of haiku
the angel’s a beast,
vermilion and green have turned
gray, and the west has turned east.

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