(Translation: In French, en grève means on strike, which is as much a part of everyday life in France as les baguettes, les fromages and shoulder shrugs, and most recent of all strikes was this weeks Parisian rubbish collection strike.)
The streets are steaming with unwanted waste,
The shit of a city smeared on its stones,
The air is fetid, foul, as if bowels have burst
In bins, unbreathable, unbearable, the streets
Are swayed with followers of fashion,
Chain smoking, chain gangs in trends too new,
Too numerous, in sharp and shiny stilettos
Sinking into the shit beneath them, unnoticed.
It is grave, grave, en grève, tu sais, on strike
They say, again, encore, toujours, our fortunes
On our backs and our faeces by our feet.
The sun is out, the shades are on, the shirts
Are off, the terraces are teaming with tourists,
The sun is out, the shades are on, the heat
Is rising and the shit is stinking. It is grave!
I miss coffee breath!
All words and photos by Damien B. Donnelly