Saturday, May 09, 2009

from Paris Journal

(Some poems and notes from my Paris journal kept during a trip to France in the summer of 1989, and accidentally discovered today, on my bookshelf, when trying to find a book of selected poems by Garcia Lorca):


hot red hot
boulevard saint
hot red hot
cafe deux
maggots where,
for 22 francs,
I get a Perrier.
hard to believe
only a hundred
odd years ago
Rimbaud and
Verlaine sat at
these marble tables
maybe vermouth
maybe talking
hot red hot
man at table
next to
me in
monte carlo blazer
with his havana
with the insipid air of
a disenfranchised cherub
probably burned out on
dissipation or
between rendez-vous
with underaged
who wander the
wide eyed boulevard
where even saints lie.
affluence is a disease
worthy only of the
I sit counting
centimes in
where arabs in
blue caps sell "le monde."
deux maggots
no place for
poets now
bureaucrats in
their Sunday best
where even saints


If $1 = 6.15 francs then
$10 = 62 francs
$20 = 123 francs
$40 = 246 francs

"prix fixe" a phrase that came to haunt me my whole trip when I wrote, too, that:

One is either in Paris or one is "autre," a word I encountered when researching Edgar Allan Poe;
"autre," other ---other than, a word that haunts as les belles dames sans merci sip their wine and smoke their gauloises while Quasimodo in drag chokes on her sausage. Province is clearly what its name
indicates -- the grotesque smothered by the proper, an age of propriety hungover and trying to pass itself off as invention. This is indeed an age of propriety and conformity. Those who exist on the outside are doomed to regret it, perhaps as never before. Donovan plays on the radio in counterpoint to the spotless, impeccable, flawless Malmaison "bad house."
The streets are wide and empty. I eat passion sorbet, but would prefer passion, but
passion is not on the menu. Do I dare to eat a peach? Do I dare to walk down place des anglais, apres noir, with a hunger, a hunger that only lions, or angels, can understand.

What is the exchange rate for desire?

At the Malmaison

At the Malmaison,
am having truly a feast
watching people
walk hungrily down
Blvd. Victor Hugo.
100 francs for
tough veal and
french fries--
Americans are not
the only masters of
the rip-off --
it appears
to be
There are only
women at this
women dining
alone --
possibly guests of
the hotel.
God only knows
how many calories
this stupid veal chop
The waiter looks like
William F. Buckley this is
definitely a place to
Alex called me again
at the hotel.
I was tempted to tell him
vegetables don't
interest me, but this is not
quite true. The carrot was
quite refreshing only the
man behind it was
absolument not!
A butcher would
struggle trying to cut
this veal. My father always
said to strictly avoid veal in
second rate hotels.
The woman at the table
next to mine who, by the way,
looks like Balzac in drag, just
asked the waiter
"Vous etes compris, n'est-ce pas?"
He looked confused
"Le service est compris, non?"
"Oui, madame," he said with a look of
quiet resignation. She must be
American, I shuddered.
"Vous etes compris" essentially means
"you are included," or you are part of
the price --- prix fixe.
How terribly American to
avoid gratuities.

Nice, August, 1989


"Liberte, egalitie, et fraternite
la grand illusione?"

billboard on the Seine