BILJANA D. OBRADOVIĆ
after Ramses the Great (c.1303 BC- 1213 BC; reigned 1279-1213 BC)
In 1974 Ramses II redhead mummy was flown to Paris
from Cairo for an examination as it had been
infested with a kind of fungus attacking his body.
Issued an Egyptian passport, that listed
his occupation as “King (deceased),”
the mummy was received at Le Bourget airport,
just outside Paris, with the full military honors
befitting a king. They then killed his fungus.
The examination revealed battle wounds, old fractures,
arthritis and poor circulation, just like the rest of us.
I wondered if when he was alive he had dreamt of flying,
and now actually was, after death over 3000 years
later. Oh, if he only knew what would he have thought?
For a while when I was a teenager I was
obsessed with him, thought his exposed face was
so well preserved. Now, I don’t quite
understand my fascination back then.
What did I see in him? But, then again,
this type of trans-world transgression,
or transportation does not occur very often.
Whatever happened to, “May he rest in peace?”
But then, why rest, fly the friendly skies! Be set free.
HILDE ROTH: THE HAT LADY
after Gustav Klimt’s Lady Wearing a Black Hat with Feather (1910)
At first, from a distance, I thought she was smoking,
leaning on her palm, but instead I realized the young lady’s pinkie
was on her lips, applied with brick colored lipstick
just like her hair, curly, pulled up, yet not so tightly,
and falling down, a strand even coming out on the right.
Topping the orange red hair she has put on a huge
rimmed, black hat with feathers leaning to the right,
going off the painting. The hat draws us to her,
quite a contrast to her pale face, a beige scarf
and dress, even a mostly beige background.
Looking down, but with eyes turned to the left,
in deep thought, very serious, she seems unhappy almost.
What had happened to this previously unknown Hungarian
redhead model, here in Vienna? How has her name survived even
though Klimt’s companion, Emilie, burned all his correspondence?
What had happened to her before the painter decided to
immortalize her? Where was she headed, decked out like this?
She seems to be in some kind of dilemma. Untypical pose
for Klimt, contemplating, this sophisticated lady
in a private situation, he almost a voyeur.
Author’s note: Both poems will appear in my newest collection of poems coming out in WordTech Editions, January 2017, called Incognito. Cincinnati: Imprint, 2017.