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Starbucks: Sunset & Fairfax – Los Angeles

Juan-Paolo Perre


This is not Café de Flore.

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 artists’ 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.