Sunflower Skins

July 29, 2008


Filed under: prose — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Sunflower Skins @ 5:07 pm

It is the summer of 1890, July. Paris is hot. Relief can be found in the wheat fields.

Lie my head back into the soft ground. Tall golden stalks surround me on either side. Van Gogh loved his absinthe so, his vision was yellow. My colored eyes, huge, flicker up to his face. I’m Sien, drowning myself in the river, I’m Theo, watching over with a brother’s care. I’m Kathy, walking through the beautiful light.

How could I have not known the wound was fatal? I put the revolver to my chest. And yet it took two days to die.

It is a common misconception that “Wheat Field with Crows” was Vincent Van Gogh’s final painting. “Daubigny’s Garden” is more likely, although he spent many of his last days gazing sublimely around Auvers. The painting that survives depicts a foreboding sky with black clouds rolling in and a flock of crows flying over the field. They are held to be the symbol that Van Gogh knew he was about to die and some critics claim that he killed himself while painting it. Three paths of indecision weave their way through the wheat.

The canvas stands before me naked and pale like a beautiful woman. Masturbate in front of me. I began to use oil paints eight years ago. Now I dip the fine hairs of the brush into a glob and paint a long, dark sky threatening the hardest rain to ever hit the fields of Auvers. The yellow and amber wheat is shining like patches in the sun. And the black rooks fly off into the horizon: leave death in their wake, or go forward towards it,

Three paths. Choose.

I take the brush and paint a long, dark line down from my collar bone to the curve of my left hip, stroking, just barely, my pelvic bone. Desire. The oil lies on top of my skin in thin layers and it will not dry for a long time. Not while you’re here. You are not here, Vincent. Desire is a dream with your face, he says, desire was a dream.

“La tristesse durera toujours.”

It is the summer of 1890, July. Paris is hot. Relief can be found in the wheat fields. My eyes, huge, flicker up to my reflection in the glass. This is not my final painting. No one knows but see it in my own face, speak last words but I’m painting, painting. The black crows are flying, flying away–


July 28, 2008

Excerpt from “The Briton Self Essays”

Filed under: prose — Tags: , , , , , , , — Sunflower Skins @ 11:02 pm
The Briton Self Essays

By Briton Self


It was with great celebration, and soon apparent appropriation, that I declared to the World my Self on that fateful Tuesday in September, 2004. I hadn’t expected such an uproar, but my announcement didn’t go over as well as I’d imagined. By the time I arrived home late that evening, after some congratulatory drinks at the pub, the newspapers were already swooning with my misadventures. It seemed that I’d become the next Kate Bloomfield or Madonna, although not with quite the proper exterior. Too rough and subversive to become a national icon, harbouring my “grand plans for ordained domination” via my new Self, the World only had time to consider when I would strike. Citizens were advised to barricade themselves with bottled water and to have a straight supply of CNN hooked up to their veins. Of course the chaos was all blamed on me; apparently I was the catalyst for a major movement of rebels, all Self-Proclaiming, in the streets of Bangkok and the waters of the Seine, moving along the trade routes of Tibet and through the offices of Wall Street. They were coming, I was their leader, and nothing could stop it, not even the national guard because, demanding peace, UCLA students filled all the guns with daisies. The US Presidents firmly supported the British Prime Minister, saying the future looked bleak for the Beautiful Republican Countries, but, God Willing, we would not achieve our demands.

It appeared that everything had gone wrong.

After a lifetime of insecurities, I have finally found peace with my Self. I did not want to be a leader for anyone but my Self; that was the whole point, as I had seen it, and I expected the option of expressing this pleasure to be readily available. Perhaps, however, I should have simply turned on my reliable computer to explain my Self neatly and comfortably to a small group of web-caming individuals. Perhaps I had overestimated society’s preparedness to accept such an open address. Yet when one is so excited by the appearance of the desired, is one’s mind on the consequences for a supposedly liberal human race? Thirty-six years old with the final recognition of what I really wanted out of life, I could not have resigned my Self to such a target audience. I didn’t quite understand how I became the World’s #1 Enemy through my tiny triumph, but somehow I did. And is that treason? On what accounts, specifically?

This was all a big misunderstanding. I had not meant to cause an uprising nor wanted to be the Head-Honcho Leader of an all-out terrorist gang, whose sole goal rested in freeing the Inner Self. I had hoped to merely “out” my Self and return to my telemarketing job in the small corner of the offices of The Daily Telegraph. Not that it kept me happy, but it didn’t keep me unhappy, and after all, I had enough money to eat and live and buy clothes and occasionally travel to exotic foreign lands, where I’d spend my hard-earned dollars on trinkets for my loved ones. I didn’t exactly enjoy my job, but I had found an ease in it, firmly believed that I was doing good for the country in that, at least, I wasn’t harming anyone or anything. True, I had had my fair share of hang-ups and angry voices during the interruptions of favorite TV shows, but all in all it was a good life. I had my friends. I had my hobbies. I had my Self. That shouldn’t be a scandal, should it?

[Order the full “The Briton Self Essays” chapbook through or Visit Briton’s web page at]

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: