Thursday, March 13, 2014

Poet Mathieu Cailler's "Days in Oil"

Mathieu Cailler’s poetry and prose has appeared in numerous national and international literary journals. Based in Los Angeles, Cailler has been a finalist for the Glimmer Train New Writers Award, the New Rivers Press American Fiction Prize, as well as awarded the Short Story America Prize for Short Fiction. His chapbook Clotheslines is forthcoming from Red Bird Press. 

Days in Oil
for Susan

If I could, I’d shrink myself down to the size of a paperclip and flatten myself out as well,
then I’d do it—slither through the echoic halls of any art gallery.

I’d swing from canvas to canvas—crawl inside the bowl of Magritte’s pipe,
maybe take a nap there, use some leftover tobacco for a pillow.

Well-rested, I’d pop in on a Dégas dance class,
learn about pas de bourrée, hear the squeaky floor, 
caress the soft silk of ballet slippers.

After a petit crème at van Gogh’s Café Terrace, 
I’d take dip in Lake Thun,
float on my back for a bit, listen to the lapping, study the clouds.

I’d check the time on a Dalí clock and head over to Cézanne’s to play cards.

I’d saddle-up one of Marc’s Little Yellow Horses, but I doubt it’d go well.

Then it’d be off to a still life for lunch, where I’d stuff my pockets with oranges and grapes.

I’d console the Weeping Woman, tiptoe through Guernica,
hopscotch across Pollack’s mess, grab a blessing from Rembrandt’s Jacob,
climb O’Keeffe’s Radiator Building, bite the rubenesque flesh of anything Matisse,
and retire to my quarters at The Room of Flowers.

The next day, I’d have breakfast with the Lady of Shalott,
maybe bring her some of Nolde’s Red Poppies,
maybe ask her if she wants to climb
Hokusai’s Mount Fuji with me.   


  1. Love this poem! So fun and enjoyable. It should be plastered in art classes across the world!

  2. I want to live in this poem!!!

  3. Well done, Mathieu! Love it!

  4. very sweet - to art!

  5. Beautiful! I love Radiator Building!

  6. Bravo! Another beautiful poem!

  7. Another it Mathieu!

  8. So creative. As I read the poem, I imagined all the paintings he was describing and enjoyed it that much more. Marilyn L