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:
and Slav, trying to avoid his billet simple to Auschwitz.
therefore, even longer before his hematemesis,
chucked up, the ulcer that ruptured, the peritonitis,
agony of a night-time drive, northwards, towards Paris,
of avoiding the Gestapo. Thus, long before Soutine’s
the bobo idyll of Le Bateau-Lavoir, its half-starved artists.
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Unpublished poem from Lut?ce, te amo, ?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