I want to be trapped. Strapped. Because if you unleash me I will run…run far…run away…escape into the arms of creepers that will entangle me, fix me against a wall crawling with insects that will grow fat on my blood, the vine will dribble poison into my eyes and I will look for you helplessly, blindly. Yes, there is a blind way of looking.
Let me lay down on that sheet and watch my face. It was the face I saw, the pain held back, the joy afraid of itself.
I have seen the portrait of your wife, Jeanne Hébuterne. She too is dead.
I am alive. I write. I feel the putrid scent of other people’s thoughts on my skin. I want to shed that skin. Do it for me. Paint me the colour of the poppy flower. Let me be opium.
Why is this age worse than all the others? Perhaps
in this: it has touched the point of putrefaction,
Touched it in a rush of pain and sorrow,
But cannot make it whole.
In the west the familiar light still shines
And the spires of cities glow in the sun.
But here a dark figure is marking the houses
and calling the ravens, and the ravens come.
PS: Coincidence? I was reading Anna Akhmatova, recently in translation, and just the other day someone mentioned Amedeo Modigliani. For some reason he was surprised I was familiar with the artist. I suppose he was even more surprised when I said that I had felt such a strange pull by his works.