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1/28/04


Home______Napoleon at 35,0000 feet

In a DC9 at 35,000 feet. Looking down on vast plains of clouds. Layer upon layer of them, nimbus, cumulus. Hurts the eyes, like snowblindedness. The cabin is very light inside. The clouds are real but we fly right through them, like a thought through the mind.

At the National Gallery I saw a larger-than-life portrait of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David. The Emperor stood before me, the weight of his countenance heavy on history. Over there in that cloud I see his torso lying in state. The nose, the high forehead, the eyelids drawn.

David had captured the man, but which is the greater likeness? That cloud or his portrait?

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