September 27, 2011 § 13 Comments

Do you remember

This is the second in a collection of tribute pieces called “Do You Remember” – chronicling what I believe to be the most important moments in a series of friendships. The first one can be found here.

Do you remember
Sitting in Paris? Not
On tiny café chairs overlooking the Seine
Or in the gardens of Marie Antoinette, because who
(who has gone to Paris)
Doesn’t remember that? No,
But do you remember
On tiles stained with piss and sophistication
In the damp stale air crowded with pea coats
and cigarettes, suspiciously lacking
Berets? And our conversation was stifled by grief,
And the wail of a distant violin
Eating in silence without peace
Or silverware – lukewarm quiche we bought
Underground from a dingy quiche… stand?
(It’s probably best named in French but again,
you were always better avec les mots)
We were starving – like we always were
Who has time to eat
In Paris?
But I remember that quiche –
Because we should have been miserable.
Drenched in icy
French spring rain
Seeking asylum in the depths of the metro tunnels
Sputtering from exhaustion
And bronchitis but I had just seen
The city
For the last time before my last minute
Early morning emergency flight
We’d run through puddled conservatory gardens
Without flowers
And floated through Monet’s museum
Filled with them, where
For the first time I understood what you meant
About falling in love with a painting.
We bought chocolate Easter eggs, in English
Even though we said “oui, nous parlons francais” –
(Obviously I was no good with that accent anyways)
And a pink snake skin patterned purse from a Japanese woman
Speaking… Spanish? Who could tell
But she used the international terminology:
The crumbling remains of the quiche were wrapped in wax in that bag
As the metro rumbled past us
Flashing foggy headlights at my tired eyes, and we climbed
Steps past the violinist into the Parisian sky, discovering
It was dark, and we were mistakenly
Way across town
Accidentally experiencing
the City of Lights.
I would have hated that night
Without you.


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§ 13 Responses to #109

  • asoulwalker says:

    I love series. And this evokes strong feelings. Bravo.

  • how do you write poems so often? where does it come from? do you feel the need to absorb, reflect, and digest before writing?

    • Haha. Unfortunately, I rarely write poems this often. This is the first time in months where I have met the “poem a day” goal more than 2 days in a row 🙂 I think that most of the way I process events/conversations/emotions etc. is during the process of writing about them, rather than before. Keep in mind what I am posting here are rough drafts, though. When I start a piece, I post it by the end of that day regardless of the condition. There is a time and place for polished pieces, but this blog exercise is about getting away from that desire for perfection. What about you? What is your process?

  • mareymercy says:

    But I am just a writer – why?
    Because I can’t sing or paint

    Because my great aunt died when I was nine

    Because my art teacher told me to describe a color
    To someone who was blind

    Because I wanted to be an astronaut, wrote so
    And made my teacher cry

    Because sometimes, someone says a word
    Like vespers
    And I feel electricity in my spine

    But mostly because I’m not sure I’d exist
    If I ever ceased to write.

    I love how it speeds up here, seems to tumble down the rest of the page. Nicely done.

    (and people are constantly telling me, YOU SHOULD TURN YOUR (fill in the blank: photography/poetry/painting) INTO A BUSINESS VENTURE as if that would make it valid. It’s like if I don’t, my art is a bunch of trees falling the forest or something!

  • dantrewear says:

    there’s something rare and precious about bittersweet moments; maybe they are truest to our present ‘through a glass darkly’ state of being?

  • 2by2weran says:

    I love this. Thank you for distilling the Paris experience so achingly accurately! The streets ‘stained with piss and sophistication’ and the ‘icy French spring rain’ totally sums up my experience earlier this June, slightly baffled and disappointed by the dingy metros of this ‘city of love’. But from what I allude of the last line, you’re right, the company made it all the more worthwhile 🙂

  • cottonbombs says:

    I’ve never been to Paris, but, I have memories of the City of Lights. Thank you for lighting another candle in a memory I hope to one day enjoy.

  • With your permission, Jessica, in anticipation, I’d like to share this with my class of 14 year olds… 🙂 It’s an awesome way of showing them how metaphors and similes meet 🙂 Through you, of course, under the Amber Sky!
    I so loved this!

  • […] – For more from the “Do You Remember” series, click any of the links below: #124 #109 #107 Rate this: Like this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

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