In Paris they ask the right questions:
“Cognac, armagnac, or calvados?”
And, “Why are your eyes so blue?”
“Do you know how to get back home?”
“Is it finally time to kiss you?”

If the black hole in the center of the galaxy
Is stoppering up a drainage pipe
That leads into another universe –
In other words, if Stephen Hawking is right –
In that place I’ve become your wife.

In that place where I’m your wife
I stand on Ponte Alexandre III, the river runs from me,
And I don’t try to hold it back.
I didn’t turn into a poet
I’m too happy for that.

In that place where I am me
Paris waits,
But both the wise and stupid men who called me here
Have been dead a long time since –
And marble angels press their fingers
Against their marble lips.

Some of us will hide our frowns
Behind the sturdy fences of gray beards.
Some of us will turn from fallen women
Into women with fallen breasts.
We will maybe sell some books,
And hug each other by each other’s graves.

Around the corner
Something says, “The horror”
And we wish to turn back
As we fall forward.

But still the dead queens on the walls
Insist the only time is now
And still the stars cluster like clots
Inside the arteries that pump
And twist through darkness’s hard heart
And still you never finish the sentence
That begins with “dans tes yeux…”
And I can’t tell pain from the pleasure
Which is why I would have loved to –
Paris, you know that I’d still love to –
Burn my tongue on you.

I wrote this a long time ago and then thought, “Well, everyone writes at least one stupid poem about Paris. This is embarrassing and it’s not going up.” Because of recent events, I dusted off the poem and realized that it’s actually strangely appropriate. Paris, ILY. Vive la France. 

9 thoughts on “In Paris they ask the right questions

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