The Haunting of William Lazos 

Van Gogh creeps by William's 
sleeping body, strolls past

paint cans, air brushes, spattered
work shirts to his smaller canvases.

He paints a sprawling sunflower
on William's self portrait.

A third eye blossoming;
Van Gogh's mark of approval.

William looks like the Giant
in the beanstalk story.

Broad shoulders, bold brown eyes that usually 
intimidate climbers back down the vine.

Van Gogh already knows he'll scale buildings, 
to paint raging bulls and matadors.

Sometimes he fears William will leap 
off the canvas and chase him back to where 

dead artists wait, hungry for late night stories 
of collaborations with this slumbering giant.

William wakes, sighs, scrapes off the yellow,
repaints his brow in varying shades of ochre.

He doesn't mind Van Gogh so much;
he's just glad Pollock or Picasso

no longer visit, covering his image completely
with paint splashes or sad shrunken blues.

Freda, either, with her crazy monkey,
tiny paws dragging it about like a toy.

Before his final exhibit, he locks 
his portrait behind prisms and charms 

sleeps fitfully, assured by a mystic
neighbor that no ghosts dare tamper.

Pris Campbell

Published in Poets/Artists journal 2011


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