XVIII. Before (from Lutèce, te amo)

Soutine had left Smilovitch, had left Minsk, had left Vilnius.


before Soutine had left Paris, left Ceéret, had left Paris



before he had left Champigny, slept rough in the forest:

     a Jew

and Slav, trying to avoid his billet simple to Auschwitz.     



therefore, even longer before his hematemesis,

     the blood

chucked up, the ulcer that ruptured, the peritonitis,

     the covert


agony of a night-time drive, northwards, towards Paris,

     the success

of avoiding the Gestapo. Thus, long before Soutine’s



the bobo idyll of Le Bateau-Lavoir, its half-starved artists.

     Et après?

Matisse, radiance of crèpe, cancer smarting like a bitch.

Unpublished poem from Lut?ce, te amo, ? Ahren Warner 2012, used by permission of the author

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