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I. Paris


In Paris, out of respect

for the beast overlooking the water

I’ll descend at a minor stop

of the RER B

far upstream of St. Michael’s bridge,

weave my way

to the river and hug its banks

and in a refound native tongue

I’ll curse the boats

made of flies

as it slices its way ahead of me

barging in a rowdy flight plan

of commerce, tourism

and ease – to make a greater clang

than even the bell tower

at the latest hours of the day.

I’ll cut in inland

on the side streets

grab a merguez-frites

and pace myself

toward Shakespeare & Co.

Those women are witches

so I’ll keep my head down –

play it casual

won’t look them in the eye

avoiding a nasty, second-degree burn

by pot-smoking, unmarried women

far too hairy and casually annoyed

by the dialogues

I’ve sculpted

so instead I’ll tell them

I’m searching for Ovid’s

Ars Amatoria,

a first edition, perhaps,

just to see their pity

leak from the eyes

and most of the face’s

humours spin like

the wheel of fortune.

For there is only one way

to be let in:

as the starved pup

or the matted-haired cat

and feign the true use

of paper and ink:

the casual note

or in salvation

of antique parquet.