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A poem inspired by my living in Los Angeles and dreaming about being back in Paris. With a great track by the legendary Jacques Brel – “La Valse a Mille Temps” to accompany.

Starbucks: Sunset & Fairfax – Los Angeles

This is not Café de Flores.
This is not Café des Artistes…ni Pigalles…ni Monceau.
Ceçi n’est pas une terrace.

One worthy of passerby’s furtive gazes
Or insolent flirting by handsome
Piques dâmes of a certain âge.

This day, although famously clear
Has no deep, calm memory
Or gilded insinuation –
Of Pauline Borghese’s Jardin des Tuileries
Or repurposed train depots
Sighing with artist’s watery impressions.

The petits-fours are just “little fours…I think…” says the counter girl
And the flaky, buttery crossed pain de la patrie
Should refuse to answer when called
Something contra-eponymously closer to a phase of the moon.

The milles-feuille’s sugary sheets
May have all of the requisite parts
But new and unimproved things
Come between the Emperor’s thousand wishes
And the peaceful rest of chef La Varenne.

These roads that flank me now
Are thoroughfares not passageways:
Epitomes of urban development, planning and upkeep.
No whimsy here in these public works.
No cobblestone grooves to trap
High-healed women-on-the-side
As they slip away to egress.

Nor are they effortless ruelles
Trod on back home with the daily bread, 
Shimmering from a moody autumnal shower
That as night falls and repurposed gaslights caste
Shadows, countless Hollywood directors
Go dizzy and blatantly over budget
To recreate it.