Passing Relations

We found each other for a while, for a moment

That should’ve lasted longer, while we searched

For a new life amid ashes of ones already lived

With frailties and fractures and losses in each.

We stopped for each other- a bond too briefly bred-

And in delighted ignorance planned out a future

As inseparable as sky from sea or water from land

Yet time, in all its wicked wisdom and wily wit,

Proved us more porous than primarily perceived.

We began as shadows; you the night and I day,

Serving distant Eire abroad in separate solo shifts

On Chevelaret’s street, coaxing coins from 13th

With pints of the black stuff and stirring them with

Fine fiddles and fanciful folklore long before Bercy

And Bibliotheque created culture and credibility.

But I felt drawn to you, caught by your secrets

And intrigued- as if you were a rendering of me-

Born earlier though arriving later- same baggage,

Same story; that free-falling flight from home-

From the fields and folk, the gossip and groans

That somehow led you here to this paltry place

That must have rang out, upon first impression,

Like the end of the Earth or, at least, last stop

For long shots and last chances.  Eventually

The first rays of summer found us at home

In this quirky quarter- all cozy and crouched

In Chinatown’s shadow, settled into life, the bar

And each other- blind to what lay in wait for us

Beyond the horizon. How did it happen, then,

In that single summer, in that glorious summer

Where we’d promised to make it the best of times,

That we ended up losing each other? I sat there

On foreign steps, covering them in foolish tears

As passersby watched on with worry and waited

For explanations that I didn’t know myself,

For I knew not, that day, how we’d failed each other.

We’d been no more than oil and water all the time,

We’d foolishly deluded ourselves into thinking us

A more compatible blend. But I admired you then,

In that time, in that interim as spring fell to summer,

I admired you then for all that you were and for all

That you tried to be, for the wounds you revealed to me-

Wounds you could not cure and so I lifted you

And carried you and feared for you and wondered

How to get in and worried, later, how to get away.

But, of course, you heard me too and cared for me,

You carried me and cured me too, for a while,

Within that fickle and finite time we had and shared.

Was the mix we made too explosive from the start,

Were we faithed before we’d begun, did we share

Too much on opposite sides of a sacrifice, in a bond

We made, loved and let break- brother and sister-

For a spell and, once in a while, Mother and son?

I was the adopted boy, adapted to be your brother,

I was given up where you’d given up, the follow-on

You needed to see and you the listener I looked on

As a mother never seen and you cried for all you’d lost

And all that could never have been.  We tried to heal

Together broken hearts- ones we thought we’d left

Back home- but memories came flooding back,

Shadows we hoped the past would file to forgetfulness

But time was not willing so we looked to each other.

It was, for but a precious moment, a way of letting go,

Of moving on. How little, in the middle of it all,

Did we know how soon we’d let go of each other.

For we would never be enough and nothing could cure

The washed over lines the hours neglected to bury.

I was not, to you, the lost child found and you,

Not for me, the shadowed mother returned. Was that

Our downfall; we’d hoped from each other too much

And found not even a whole summer on that street

With its towering temples, viewless windows and lovers

Who came to divert us from what lay uncovered?

Brother and sister; sipping coffees, learning French,

We taught each other a lot but failed to learn to hold on.

Where are you now and do you ever, for a moment,

Wander in your mind down that street to the bar

Were we talked and laughed and cried till dawn

Before heading home together, to lie together,

In our tiny home, gossiping and giggling in separate beds?

I see you sometimes in my mind’s eye- smoke in hand,

As always, and eyes lit up with excitement as we danced

Through that bar- our bar on Saturday nights as we simply

Entertained the audience perhaps just as simply as we

Entertained each other. In my mind we will always be

Dancing like that before closing the bar and finding comfort

In a drink and each other; Brother and sister for almost a summer,

Dancing in the ignorance of what autumn had in store for us.

13

Paris- Within Me

What is it about you that daily replaces you In front of my eyes

No matter how far from you I travel?

Were you the first one I saw from above

With your grey slates,

Smokeless chimneys

And laddering towers to the Gods?

Specs of gallant green

Among your columns and follies,

Your marching boulevards

Like lines of proud soldiers-

Brandishing the Tri-Color

For fear the memory of Marie Antoinette

May fall forsaken.

The whitened Sacred Heart

Upon your butted highest spot-

Where Saint Denis fell to martyrdom

Long before the painters-

Doused in Absinthe-

Captured the high-kicking,

Rouged-up damsels

Amid the Moulin’s endlessly turning sails.

Your very own Taj Mahal-

Not so in keeping

With your concrete corinthian cornices

And grotesquely glaring gargoyles

And yet so missed when no longer in view.

And there,

Standing as proud as your citizens,

By the far reaches

Of your once bohemian Left banks,

Where cheers of toasts were often heard

Amid the enlightened quarrels of Sartre,

In praise for the flat-shoed Stein

And sorrow for the almost exiled Wilde,

Lies your most celebrated folly of all;

Your monstrous clunk of iron-

Within who’s restaurant Maupassant

Would willingly dine to be excused

From the very view in which he sat,

Which melted itself into the heart of me.

More than a dozen times

Have I scaled your heights

To always draw a fresh breath of awe

Upon the sight from your summit,

Like the minute memory of the goldfish;

Immeasurably forgetful

But struck again and again

By the beauty of its surroundings

As if witnessed for the first time.

Your streets planned out before me

With cars racing onwards,

Inwards and through-

So much like the blood

Pumping through the entangled archeries

Of my beating heart.

I am a million miles from you again,

On top of the world of another city

And yet you are next to me

Wherever I stand,

In front of me

No matter what I see

And beating

Still so fresh and fervently

Deep down

Within me.

photo-80

The Greener Grass

How do you remain so still,

So stable

While I so shake?

As your city slumbers,

I stand upon a bridge

That spans over you

And watch, silently,

The swaying waters by your banks-

Your only show of movement

And yet,

These are motions of depth,

Of power and maturity;

Not a single spray of insecurity

And, all the while,

I tremble as my feet thread over you

For fear that those memories,

So precious,

That I made in the heart of you

Have lost their shady shadows

Of mundane living that must have been

A part of us too.

Can it really have been

As perfect and sun-lit

As I remember?

Was there not a single day

That dampened the mood

Or dulled the sheen?

Your golden Louvre, glistening

In the sunset on front of us

From this square of gallant green

Normally filled with glasses of wine

And kissing lovers,

Is as connected to you today

As it was yesterday-

Just as I feel,

And yet she never left your side,

Never questioned her position

Or connection-

Not even for a moment,

Like I did.

Dare I return

To find my mark in you again?

Can it truly be as great

As the memory in my head?

Can it be as natural

As the dream that plays

While the nocturnal bird sings-

The one that wakes me in the night

And asks me where I am

And how I have managed

To let so much time

Slip in between us.

Can I ever be brave enough

To see going back

As moving forward?

Can I be as bold

At nearly 40

As I was

At only 20?

photo-67

Retouching the Canvas

I am not sure what it was-

A calling, a desire, a need

To start afresh; reborn-

Washed down to white,

A bare canvas to be painted on,

Once more, without mark or tint

Of what had been or came before

And yet, in this new rendering,

Each selected stroke

And technique of life and love

That had gone before

Shone out as if I’d laid

One too few undercoats

To cover up the replication

Of the previous interpretation.

But they were merely tones-

Hints of what had led me here,

To this city as old as time,

That so reveled in its own past

That it proved impossible

For anyone or anything to look

Directly in front of them

Without being aware of all

That lay in its shadowed history;

The heartless father- no longer

As ice stone in the memory,

Melting slightly with every sunset

Witnessed by the Pont des Arts.

How you tortured us,

I once thought, and yet,

With distance to enlighten me,

I see it was you who was tortured

By your own fumbling hands,

Unable to hold on to what you had,

But fighting to make it bleed as it fell

From your frightened clutch.

I’d cast you in my child-thinking mind

As impenetrable rock, and yet,

You were no more than base-empty,

Fool-hearted, stubborn image

Of lost boy, plunking manly grunts

Onto foolish quarrels that festered

Within you, as we pulled away,

Long before your slow path

To fated finish line- the end.

A line that I no longer saw

From the sanctuary of my own

Tiny life, all carved out

In new directions, opposite

To all of yours until my feet rested

On that fine day, in summer,

On the ground under which

I hoped you lay at peace, at last.

And so I turned from you,

With a nod of final forgiveness

To our past and flew back

To my future where firm footing

Claimed my title as accepted dweller

Instead of foreigner within.

I became an inhabitant

In my own right and a witness

To this city that stretched out

Before me as each new dawn

Rose to tempt me

With further offerings before

Wrapping itself around me

Once more as the sun set

On those journeys home-

Always bank side and lamp lit-

When this once walled city

Leant in and shielded me

From the loneliness of that run

From home; the free-falling flight

Of the frenzied Irishman to France.

Was youth my only excuse

For the naivety and lack

Of processions I’d arrived with;

A wallet not so bulging, a tongue

That had barely tickled the language

And a boy without a home,

Or friend or job to do?

And yet that was the desire

That bought me that once-off,

One-way, discounted, newspaper

Cut-out, couponed ticket.

My greatest folly and yet,

So too, my greatest joy.

My canvas may not have been

As blank as I thought but,

By the end, it had been

Uncompromisingly retouched,

The edges softened, the frame

Selected and, in my own reflection,

I saw colors I had never before

Imagined to be a part of me.

pont des arts

Summer Sun in the Marshes

Three boys and a girl,

Coasting carelessly

From teens to twenties

And coping lazily

With hangovers

Beneath the summer’s sun.

One blonde and three browns,

Laughing amid golden rays

That filled the most perfect of squares

In the once marshland of Le Marais

With it’s cobbled streets,

Men of elegance

And women-

Who followed their trend.

We were setting no trends-

The four of us,

But caught up in the richness

And comedy of it all.

We were Irish and English

And one of us French-

Young, unknown, foolish

And arrogant-

To everything but ourselves,

And ignorant-

To who it was that we were.

We were like the ground

We sat on;

A once sinking mess

Belonging to a world

Of daylight dreaming,

Where un-cautioned laughter

Tickled our sleep

Though not our feet,

But suddenly we’d found

Potential in possibilities

Seen through slumber-less eyes,

Far from dreaming.

I was laughing with one,

Blushing with the other

And was sleeping with the one

So typically French.

I’d befriended the one

I’d hoped to sleep with

And undressed with the one

I should’ve remained

Discreet with.

I would later miss her,

Lose contact with him

And wonder

How to stop sleeping

With the other.

But that day,

In that light,

In that heat of that summer,

We’d found our way,

Heard our voices

And finally found

What it meant to belong.

photo-64

Remember

Do you remember Paris on occasions when Spring winds

Wash in from the east and the sound of drinks on terraces

Sweep over the city, recalling those lazy days- a lifetime ago,

Before we knew London together or what it would be like to part?

Do you, do you remember Paris, my room, our love

And all those carefree dreams we shared and found

As we lay at night in that single bed, in the corner, wrapped-

Not just due to lack of space- so tightly in one another,

Long before I lost myself and you lost me?

Do you dare to look back on those weekend meanders

Through the cobbled streets that I thrilled to show you

And you longed to see through my eyes, as well as yours?

Those early days of bloom that fell so timely to nights

Back at the water castle, a name-deceptive metro stop,

Where kisses would take us through to the dawn.

Remember our first Spring and how it warmed into Summer

As we sailed through the city like no one else existed

And no time could have been more suited to such a pair

Who fell in love with dogs in pet shop windows as we strolled

To Pont Neuf, to sip on wine, wave farewell to the sun and sleep

Under the shade of a tiny park, at the bottom of the bridge

On the first site of the city, by the walls of its Musee du Louvre.

Remember that rainstorm, that marvelous Sunday; we woke up

As the lightening struck and birds flapped wildly to find reason

Amid the mornings madness why their feathery wings failed

To find flight. Funny how I missed any warning in their fluttering.

I remember your first night in my city- deep in The Banana

In Les Halles, with Yasmine’s infectious grin, boys in towels

On table tops, the piano, the dancing and the DJ who sang

And the morning that found us before we had stopped.

Remember La Grande Jatte, in the shadow of Seurat,

On a sleepy Sunday morning when we stopped

To make connections beyond what the eye could see-

To remember what the painter had seen? You sang

Of the colors between the water and the sky, ignorant

To all but us and the music that filled our minds on that ordinary day,

In a simple Summer, during a Sunday stroll, on an isolated island,

Where everything seemed more and more extraordinary.

On Hugo’s trail, we searched out the ghosts of a Paris long fallen to history-

Stench filled sewers, Luxembourg gardens and finally, and above all,

By a tree in the far reaches of LaChaise where Val Jean had laid

His miseries to rest. Was it later that night I confessed to be falling

While in your arms and your eyes replied that you were already there?

Do you remember that time at Disney? You, the one with the Mickey ears and I,

The one with the childlike fears till the valium kicked in- your treasured

And unused stash- an airplane’s roar enough to set your hairs on end.

Do you still remember those endless nights in the Tropic; sipping on Gin Fizzes,

Fresh from the cinema, sandwich grec’s on the way home along rue saint Denis-

It’s ladies only then awaking to their nocturnal life?

Remember that single bed in the corner; I always woke up stuck to the wall

Or wedged somehow between bed and brick. The sofa, the table

And the sunflowers of plastic- so not what you’d imagined at all.

Remember those early wake-up calls as Monday morning broke our spirits

And sounded a parting- a rush to the station and tears as you left me

Wondering, always, when you’d return.

Do you dare to venture to the times we shared

In what seems like a lifetime ago when not a minute suggested

What time would design and we’d one day have to let go?

Remember Paris,

Remember you,

Remember me,

Remember us.

photo-53

A Little Repose

You haunt me, you know, your park benches empty in the shadows of moonlight

And your lamplights; desolately romantic as if longing for a lovers embrace.

I know not why you have called me out of them all. A million people

Thread through your streets everyday, every night, yet I am the one

With pen in hand, scribbling questions that you never answer

As I stare into your magnetic waters that tug at me from lands afar.

Are there others who wander you aimlessly, haunted by a melancholic longing?

I know not. Do they gaze on you with unwavering love, forgetting your scars

And bruises, your brutish bureaucracy and snappish shrugs-

Or do they just despise your perfection, your pride, your success?

I see only ever increasing circles in your waters, dragging me down,

Pulling me in, asking me why I parted and when I shall return

To be sucked in, hauled down, ripped bare and naked in front of you.

Ten years on- our anniversary, I am saddened, sombre, elated and overjoyed

In your presence but still know not why. Is it the simply the je n’es sais quoi?

A man stands before me and looks down at you from a bridge, hand against face,

And watches your motions. Is he as captured by you as I? Can he leave you,

Release you, let go of you- like I cannot. What lies so deep within his stare?

What makes him stop, like I, upon your bridge, before your Lady, our Lady, and look

And wish and wonder? I know not what his reasons are as much as I know not my own.

Am I your folly or is it you that are mine? Tell me, speak to me, inform me,

Embrace me amid your precious Pomp and Circumstance or let me go,

Sail me off and set me free. For I am yours for the asking, yours for the calling,

Yours in waiting, devoid of answers but so full of questions.

I smile when my feet hit your floor, cry when my eyes see your treasures

And fear everything you made me into, everything I ran from

And everything I left of me, with you, in my passing.

I am open book without ending, a poem without a point,

A line without structure. Is this it? Are we finished?

Or is this just a little repose?

photo-52

Compatible Blends

We found each other,

For a while

As we searched separately

For a new life

Amid the ashes of a life already lived

With bruised edges,

Fractured hearts

And losses to great to forget.

We stopped for each other,

All but briefly

And, in delighted ignorance,

Planned out a future

As inseparable

As water from land

And sky from sea

But proved to be less

Penetrable

Than we knew.

We shadowed each other,

At the start,

Sailing in separate shifts

On Chevelaret’s Street

In district 13

With Celtic music,

And pints of the black stuff

While a riotous racket of Turkish overtones

And Irish stupidity,

Parading as management,

Carved comedy into

Every inch of our jobs.

You were night and I the day

As we passed each other without

Sensing a connection

And yet I was already aware-

Intrigued by the mysterious air

You’d arrived on.

I had sat in the corner of the bar

And watched you being interviewed.

You polished off a glass of Guinness

On that unaccustomedly sun-lit day

In spring

Like it was the first drink ever

On a Friday evening

With not an ounce of fear or uncertainty

As Niall questioned you

With roaming eyes

That longed for more salacious information

Than you were willing to provide.

Your age was not to be a factor

Nor your flight from home

That had somehow lead you here,

To this place,

That must have rung out-

With first impression-

Like it was the end of the earth

Or the final stop for last chances.

You had shadowed the steps

I had made months earlier.

Were you as shocked as I

When you climbed down the metro’s stairs

And saw that lifeless street stretching out before you

With the Guinness sign in the distance

Like a beacon to call you home?

A dishevelled man-

Washed over in alcohol

And lost out in life

And two dead rats along the side walk

Had been my greeting

To this quarter

Lurking anonymously

Behind the chaos of Chinatown

And it sank into me-

As the train raced away,

That this was the one place were they would say

Yes

And my empty wallet would be

The one thing about me that

Could not say

No.

But somehow we made it home

And as the sun grew stronger

We looked at each other more closely

And made connections-

Blind to what lay beyond the glare

Of those rays that hypnotised us.

So how did it happen

In that summer-

That glorious summer where we had

Promised each other to make it be the one

That shone the brightest in our memories-

That we ended up

Losing each other?

I sat on someone’s porch steps

Covering them in bitter tears

While two blonde boys watched on

And waited for explanations that I could not know,

For I was still unable then to see

How much we had failed each other.

Had we been no more

And no less

Than oil and water

All that time-

Fooled somehow into thinking us a more

Compatible blend?

But I had seen you and fell for you-

For all that you were

And tried to be

And all that you covered up-

Wounds naked only to me

And wounds that you could not cure

And so I lifted you

And carried you

And feared for you,

And wondered how to get in

And worried how to get away-

I knew the danger signs that lit up

In your eyes

And when to speak

And when to say nothing

But- at the same time-

You carried me

And cared for me

And cured me too.

I was the adopted boy who became

Your adopted brother.

Once, I had been given up

Where you had given up.

I was the follow on that you needed to see

And you- the listener

I needed to confide in,

To say I forgive,

I’m ok,

I have survived.

To your face

I said thank you to a mother never seen

And in my eyes

You cried for all that you had lost

And could never have the chance to be.

Maybe the mix was too explosive

And we shared too much from opposite sides

Of an unused coin

In that bond

We made

And loved

And let break-

Brother and Sister

And sometimes

Mother and Son.

We began to heal together-

Broken hearts that we thought we’d left

Back home,

Memories that came flooding back

Like children we’d forgotten

And left behind-

A part of ourselves that we’d ignored-

Hoping the past would let it slide to

Forgetfulness

But we found that not to be true

And in each other we found-

For all but a precious moment-

A way of letting go

And moving on.

How little,

In that middle of it all,

Did we know how soon we’d let go of each other.

For, in truth,

It was never enough

And nothing could cure the washed over lines

That lay buried in the memory.

I could not become the lost child

And you were not the shadowed mother for me.

Maybe that was our downfall-

We hoped for too much from each other

And found not even a whole summer

On that street with its temples,

Viewless windows,

Benoits who cried in our laps,

Cards games you thought me

And Lovers who came our way

To divert us more from what lay

Too deep to remove.

Brother and Sister-

Sipping coffees and cokes

And teaching each other French-

We taught each other a lot

But never managed

To teach each other

To hold on.

Where are you now and do you ever

Wander in your mind

Back down that street

And into that bar

Were we talked

And laughed

And cried the night away

Until the morning found us

And we set off home

Together

And lay together

In one room,

In separate single beds

And spoke till one of us fell asleep.

I see you sometimes,

In my minds eye

With fag in hand, as always,

And eyes lit up as we danced through that bar

Which became our bar

On a Saturday night

As we simply entertained the audience

Perhaps just as simply

As we entertained each other.

In my mind we will always be dancing

Like that

Before closing the bar

And finding comfort in a cigarette,

A drink

And each other-

Brother and sister

For almost a summer,

Dancing in the ignorance

Of what autumn

Would have in store for us.

photo-43

The Christmas Kiss that Wasn’t Mine

For two months

I’d waited for you-

Adrift for a time from

The mere sensation of even

A stranger’s touch-

Not knowing it was you,

Of course,

But for that longed for warmth

To envelope me.

How funny

And how easy

You became my Christmas present-

Mon cadeau.

My only gift had been a self-bought

Over-sized,

Under-priced

Tatty jumper

And then you arrived-

Dropped yourself at my table

In your yellow rain-coat

With slightly drunk,

Tear-filled eyes-

Lonely for your lover

Who’d flown home to family.

You’d been abandoned

For three days,

Or so you thought-

Till you were in my arms

Amid a darkening street

In The Marais

And each kiss goodbye,

That started as a cordial bisou,

Seemed never quite enough

And your hands-

Finding their way easily inside my clothing-

Felt only teased

By what they had not yet

Touched.

I wanted to take you home-

My hotel-called-home,

With it’s corner balcony that hid

All but the tip of Notre Dame

And my pillows-

Like feather-filled lozenges

That enticed no sleep,

But my concierge had other ideas-

Even on Christmas night

No guests meant no guests,

However cold it was outside

And however innocent

We attempted to look

While the imprint of your lips

Burnt away on my neck.

And so I found myself

On the red sofa

Of your Les Halles living room

Amid your cat and dog,

With His scent everywhere-

Upon the delightfully pillow-like pillows I slept on

And in the painters nightshirt

You dressed me in,

Later on,

When the kisses stopped

And the dawn’s cold air

Dropped by.

We had nothing in common-

Not even a language-

But we were both alone

Amid a city of fairy lights

And family affairs

And what else mattered.

I awoke each night

As you stroked the hair from my face

With your architectural hands-

Your eyes pouring into me-

Looking, perhaps,

For a deeper meaning

Or some forgivable

Justification

But there was nothing

But our basic needs.

Even as you suggested to stay

In contact-

You knew my eyes

Saw your sophomoric lies

And twisted attempts

At half-truths-

Trying to clutch onto something

New and different

In the midst of the complacency

You’d created around you.

There was nothing more

Than two boys

And three nights,

So much shared in silence-

The inevitable not needing a voice.

I waved you goodbye

That last morning

Inside your age-old building,

On your spiraled staircase,

Half a floor below you

With your scent covering me-

Like a blanket

That’s never quite big enough

To stay wrapped in

Forever,

And your cat stated back at me-

Questioning me through half-closed,

Sleep-filled,

Feline eyes,

Sensing the betrayal of the situation

Which she had slept through most of

And I was walking away from.

Behind your green eyes and blond hair

You wondered

How I could mean

So much

In so short a time.

Was it minutes later until his return-

Did you wash the sheets?

Did you hold him

As if he were me

In that bed,

Beneath the darkness

Where we once found each other

And took pleasure in the taste?

Did the cat snarl out the affair

Before you

Or did I dream it all-

The three nights,

The two boys

One brown,

The other blond

And the swift sweet unwrapping

Of mon Cadeau?

photo-41

Years Go By

Years go by

And I’m still here-

Remembering.

Years flying by-

Feeling like minutes in my mind;

A decade lost in the passing,

Like I’ve fallen forward through a gap in time.

Years in between

And yet that first morning-

Still so fresh,

Waking up into a home I’d gate crashed-

The Irish abroad;

Jeannie, with the flaming red hair

And welcoming hug,

A son in the shadows of another country

And a daughter to fall in love with were I straight.

Unable to forget

Those heated floors boards,

The note of good morning

In the kitchen,

The crispy toast from a packet,

The tiled green bathroom,

Separate toilet

And back to the bathroom to wash hands.

The plant filled balcony,

Those frosted glass doors

Which echoed through the apartment as you opened them-

So mundane and ordinary

And yet so much more

A part of me now

Than those trivial things

Ever where then-

Long before they became

A memory to cling to,

To cherish.

I hold on to so much more now

Than I ever thought possible

Or considered important-

The feel, the taste, the smell,

Like those disgruntled old madames

Who threw water from their balconies every morning-

Clocked in sombre shades of black

And scowling at passers-by like me

For the demise of their youth and their looks.

I can recall-

As if it were yesterday-

Those precious summer mornings

That soon followed me-

The air filling

With the fragrance of freshly baked croissants

As boulangeries opened their bell-ringing doors

To delighted strains of bonjour and ca’va.

Years, reaped upon years

But I still smell it as fresh now

As the day was new.

I can hear those familiar sounds

Of kids-

Singing out in ignorant celebrations

Of their youth

But always hidden from view

Behind high walls of stone.

Paris- the city for artists,

Intellects,

And the amourouse,

Where children are heard

But rarely seen.

No tantrums in stores,

No snotty noses in bistros-

No changings of nappies in sight.

Our Lady of magic was

Fully grown,

Fully developed-

No question of who She was

Or where She was going.

This City was born

Dressed in Chanel attire

With precious pearls to match-

Born a proud,

Free speaking,

Free thinking,

Pompous,

Confident adult,

Without question.

Her raison d’etre-

Herself entirely.

And there I stood

In the middle of it all

Trying to find my own trend

And set a route

Amid multitude of pathways

I longed to explore,

Get lost in,

Fall in love in

And find adventure in.

Time slips away

But it somehow leaves a part of me

Still there- somewhere,

Wandering through covered passageways

Packed with marionette theaters

And tiny trinket stores

Watched over by age old glass ceilings,

Discovering underground chambers

Of sewers and tombs-

Lost generations of the past,

Slipping unnoticed through graveyards

Of forgotten faces

Ad heralded names

Decorated with weeping women,

Stones eyes Madonnas

And cast iron wings-

Never to fly,

Remembering those I’d never known

And wondering who’d remember me.

Sitting by Seurat to make connections in his colors

And wondering what Mr. Wilde would make of us now.

Years gone by

And I still go back there-

Left side,

Art style,

Boho chic-

Where Oscar last laughed

And Sartre sighed

And I remember who I was,

Laugh at who I’ve become

And wonder why I’ve fled so far

From the city that never changes

Whilst I never stop.

Saturday afternoons,

After lazy lie-in’s

Rising through the cobbled hills

Of once moulin covered Montmartre

With Abi’s and Vincent’s

And Yasmine’s and Shaun’s,

Where artists ghosts-

intoxicated

By the green fairies potent mix

And the ruffling of high kicking

Can-can skirts-

Would swept though air

That you had only to touch

To feel a part of,

While tourists flocked

To pick up as many copies

And replicas as they could carry

Without so much as breathing in

All that surrounded them

For free.

I was a free man in Paris too,

My dear Joni,

And have wandered down

That Champs Elysees

In search of those I once knew

And cared for

And loved

And lost.

Years outrun years

But I can still close my eyes

And feel the sun on my skin

As we filled Victor’s fine square

With resounding laughter

That soared around the fountains

And columns

And palaces

Fit for queens.

14th of July ’98-

Champ du mars,

Three tenors,

Fireworks,

Mary and me

And a thousand others-

We were the luckiest in the world.

I can see myself at 23-

Cast bright in the lamp lights

That I sailed past

On the back of a motorbike-

Tearing through world of Hemingway

On the slumbering market street

Of Rue Mouffetard

Before the bank side approached

And Notre Dame lay reflected

In the sleeping waters.

My arms wrapped tight

Around my leather clad driver

With Spanish blood and gallic looks-

Willing to show me it all.

The years may continue

To build on years,

Time will continue

To tick-tock away,

But there are lifetimes

In moments

Which years can do nothing

To suppress

Or erase

If the heart wills

Not to forget.

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