Letters to Paris

Sun. Wine. Paris.

Music of dead leaves. Early snow -
tombs under dark skies.

River, swollen, suicidal.

A goldness under things.

Eternal fall hour: poems and
red lipstick.

Paris in words, in stone, in
the mind.

A dream; almost.

Mist of reverie at a cafe tab Ie..
Layers of espresso.

Sleep, almost: an erotic tingling
under the skin.

Passing by, in white heels.

"Kiss", she wrote, all the way from

A cloud of poems floating slowly across
the pages.

Face of brief light. Genius of alleys,
doves, obliquity.


Awnings flapping.
Neon flicking.

It did snow; I'm certain?
Or, sleet, anyway, music box of dead leaves.
Sound of water or starlings.

Blue street. Blue pigeons.

One tear on a cheek.

The fleeting now.

Paris, in April, with suicide.

Lips floating in dawn mist.
Vietnamese, African, French lilac.

"long arabesques of silver-tipped sentences"
Claire Malroux

Infinite overlay of these intoxications.

Poem as perfume, heady as lingerie; poem as
espresso's black light, wine's dusky thoughts;
her skin, violet powder, chalk of stars after

Mad in pursuit.

"Espresso. Nice blue pen. Graph notebook."
Gail Scott. "Not having found dream cafe yet."

Something of Paris. Or nothing. Adjani's


Never complete darkness. City lights, painted
phosphors of silverblue over the bedroom,
part of a wall, half a mirror, fragment of
floor - all else black as the waters of sleep

I knelt before her.

Holding her legs straight up. My face pressed
between her calves, ankles. I looked down at
her, chalkwhite dream, drugs and death.

I wanted to taste her the way I tasted the
sentences of exquisite writing, rolling them
around my mouth with my tongue to savor their
deepest meanings.

I lowered my face into snow and violets and

A brief, perfect novel went through my


The gilded lawns: their emerald women.

See how they move.

And the swifts, weaving endlessly.

Streets, you are mirrors, in you I
see white limbs, hairfall,

the perfumed sun in this derelict hour,

cascading into mist,

cloak of water, shadows,

silence like a legend, the marvelous.

Lamp posts whisper of another.

Star of dusk: pool of branches:

black dress of moonlight

falling from the body of sleep.


Like cigarettes - once their pleasure. Blue
smoke in the late afternoon of coffee.

Lungs. Age. Desire. Disease.

Ghost of alcohol, in every corner, like the
caress of angel down, velvet lips.

The Paris of no one. I am empty as these

0 children of paradise, 0 eyes without a face.

Like poems taped to walls
her sighs

Street signs turned round, trashcans upended.
And that moon - a movie - Paris Moon. Sybilline
and still.

Minou Drouet. "Paris sky/secret weight... cocktail
of night and of fear-" and "move on to what is/
already no more."

Then, November, origamis of frost on panes.

She breathes out pages and signboards creaking.
That cleavage between night and dawn. Concrete,
beautiful, of wetness, paved in shadow.

Baudelaire, his fits, flowers, black thighs.
Hashish, wine, poetry, howls and gasps in all
hours of this Paris. Donot deliver us from evil.


Chill in my heart: dagger of cliche, rooftops,
dovecotes, gargoyles pissing. Celan. Collobert.
Stilettos of grief, red thread of a skirt.

Kisses. Croissants. Doorways.

What street is this? I've never been. To Paris.
Ever. There is a shimmer. To skin, dresses.

Medieval eyes, in postmodern faces.Born into
this aether, luminous irony, crystal fingertips
on crystal keys.

Morning fog. Then rain. Then magic skies of
cloud-drift and dizzying sapphire.

Romance, or sex?
Coffee, or absinthe?
Every dove is her throat.
Flesh, the roses.

Gravel lane. A glimpse of river, its curves,
around banks of redbud, paulownia.

Fatal ineffability. Of a woman, in Paris.

Literature, philosophy, fashion.
Faint lemon; comma of cedar.
Espresso, double, please.
For here, yes.

"Everything is white, everything empty" -
du bouchet or Salter


Why is memory so quicksilver, like sleet on
doves seen through garret windows on a final
hungover dawn.

Gail Scott. "Jet black hair. White white skin.
Red lips frequent here... dressed in black, gazing
at horizon...well-placed beauty marks."

-sound of rain, coffeegrinders, gas jets heating

...moist gleaming silver, ermine, petals of snow
in spring light as I turn a corner into time,
words, life.

Black, no sugar.

Cafe angels, scribbling in tiny curlicues.
Violette, Nicole, Sabine, Simone, Claudine,
Claire-Danielle. Heartpounding, breathtaking
poetry of a cheekbone, nose, flip of hair.

"...and then, when the cicadas are silent and
the nights turn cold, it will be time to think
of Paris." Cyril Connolly.

(skin's white ink, burning ash of kisses.
rain cafe windows, life on screens, who walks by,
me, looking in, at faces floating behind wet
glass, steam drops, steeples)

Under dark wings of sky we ran away to Paris.

Rush of caffeine, sex, lost arcades of dream.


"Live? Our servants will do that for us."
Villiers de 1'Isle-Adam

between pink and gold, wind-blown mist and
pearl, irridescent skin and raindark pavements;
in Paris, to seek a prose, to study legs, feet
in dangerous shoes

.....the space, the instant, deep in everything,
never attained, vapor of cities and loves, noose
of silk stockings.

"bakeries, tangerines, bitter chocolate,
page after page..... layers of light, tinted
mica, and in their huge eyes all the dreams
of the world, all the romantic walks and
longings and melancholy twilights..... and
late night thoughts of suicide, just beyond
the poem's edge, just beyond the imagined
scent of hair"

darker wine

deeper beds

tragedy in a lock of hair

"Kiss", she wrote. And gone.

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