Self Portrait at Sunrise

/, Blesok no. 31/Self Portrait at Sunrise

Self Portrait at Sunrise

Self Portrait at Sunrise
Where Were You When I Needed You, Jack Kerouac

”She paints angels fairly well,” my friend said, ignoring
the small lens through each black eye painted clear enough
for the light outside to enter and show me

what I almost missed here in Ljubljana with its statues
of dead Romans that stands guard at GAP boutiques,
with its blue-haired students staring westward and waiting

for a hero who moves time from past to future with no damage
to the present, with its old stones and new poets that drink
Union beer and write the city’s flight from centuries of blood

on the backs of bar napkins, with its Russian scars that never slowed
the swirl of this artist’s brush from traveling where it wanted
when it needed to go there. “Her name is Metka”, said my friend.

”She paints angels while her husband writes his demons into books.”
I’ve never seen her but I spent the day inside her, injecting
my memories like oil-based colors onto her canvas faces –

the blond angel who wrapped her legs around my waist
while her sister shot me full of coke and cried
because I came before she had the strength to climb on,

the blind angel who dropped a hit of mescaline in a park, dancing
while Duane Allman played the blues, while she saw
a rainbow in the sky behind her frozen eyes, and that one freckled

angel with her red hair whose skin was so soft that I forget the pieces
of my best friend lying in the yellow mud of Khe Sahn and the stare
of a child who sat beside a dead dog, waiting for a war to end.

I’ve lived a death suspended with angels just like yours Metka,
framed by the sterile light in some small gallery on some narrow
street, the air aching between their eyes and mine.

AuthorJim McGarrah
2018-08-21T17:23:33+00:00 March 1st, 2003|Categories: Poetry, Blesok no. 31|0 Comments