Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist
I, Michelangelo Merisi --
known in my time and yours as
painted this scummy episode:
a pouty nymphet who made
stepdad Herod come in his pants,
now refusing to look at the
and besides it was all my
stupid mother’s fault.
You might think instead this was --
as you people say --
about ‘speaking truth to power’,
and look where it gets you.
No, for me, the really compelling
character is the executioner:
jug-eared, busted nose,
the sort of thug you’d hire off the docks
to do some dirty work and do it right.
A kind of in-your-face self-portrait.
Norbert Hirschhorn is a public health physician, commended by President Bill Clinton as an “American Health Hero.” He lives in London and formerly in Lebanon. He has published four collections: A Cracked River (Slow Dancer Press, London, 1999), Mourning in the Presence of a Corpse (Dar al-Jadeed, Beirut, 2008), Monastery of the Moon (Dar al-Jadeed, Beirut, 2012), and To Sing Away the Darkest Days, Poems Re-imagined from Yiddish Folksongs (Holland Park Press, London, 2013). His poems have appeared in numerous US/UK publications, several as prize-winning. See his website,www.bertzpoet.com.
The Ekphrastic Review
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