XVIII. Before (from Lutèce, te amo)

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

     Long

before Soutine had left Paris, left C?ret, had left Paris

     again,

 

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

     a Jew

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

     And,

 

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

     exsanguination:

 

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

     Et apr?s?

Matisse, radiance of cr?pe, 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Unpublished poem from Lut?ce, te amo, ?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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