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portraits of red and grey #21 by James Morehead

July 3, 2011

portraits of red and grey #21

by James Morehead

pushkin palace outside leningrad
years of meticulous restoration from a wartime siege of bullets
room after room after room of gold and spectacle
amazing
postcard
perfect

i'm tired or bored and lean for a moment
                                                                 lightly
on a palace wall
and am bombarded in russian
by an old man behind me
uniformed and dressed with medals
                                                         red with anger
he points at my resting shoulder
our tour guide appears from a corner
their words flurry past me
and the man's voice softens
                                             slightly
the guide turns to me
whispering sharply
i have insulted the dead
the victims of war
by carelessly soiling the walls of this palace

shaken
i apologize softly in english

i stop breathing
                          for a while
standing silent
touching nothing

Next in portraits of red and grey…

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