Saturday, July 6, 2019

Notre Dame was burning (posted better late than never)

Live TV coverage of Notre Dame in flames. You can see the huge jets of water being pumped directly from the (adjacent) Seine. Every firefighter in Paris must have been called in on this one.

Old Wood

Halfway through my last dinner, I saw the blaze,
unfathomable as the Grand Canyon creaking shut.
The owner confirmed:  Everyone on staff is following

as firefighters poured the river onto the flames.
When the spire lifted as it toppled, people gasped, 
wailed as though a suicide had jumped.

The day before I’d walked the quais, 
browsed the bookinistes, shot mood pics of the towers,
total cornball, through the mist of new leaves.

Arrow of God, the spire had fallen before the sun was down, 
The fire turned the sky red, turned the cross white-hot.

Not all the water in the world, not even the river could help.
People stood and watched, sang and wept.
Rains came only the next morning.

Ash sifted down catching, reflecting coral light 
I’d brought my husband’s ashes in a carved wooden box.
No need, no need.

After dinner, the owner walked me to the door. We sniffed the air.
Vieux bois, she shrugged, wincing. Old wood.
(published in New Verse News on April 23 2019, Easter Sunday)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Now playing on K-REN? Night and Day

If Renoir had painted Notre Dame

First night in Paris

For the last three weeks, this song has been going through my head. All day long. I don't choose them, I just report them. And, honi soit qui mal y pense.

For Ella,

And alternatively,
for the close harmony!

Night and Day
Night and day, you are the one
Only you beneath the moon and under the sun
Tour Eiffel into the night
Whether near me or far
It's no matter, darling, where you are
I think of you night and day, 
Night and day, why is it so 
That this longing for you follows wherever I go?
In the roaring traffic's boom
In the silence of my lonely room
I think of you night and day
Night and day, under the hide of me
There's an, oh, such a hungry yearning
Burning inside of me
And this torment won't be through
'Til I spend my life making love to you
Day and night, night and day

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Who is my audience? Who's in the crowd?

Tourists at the foot of Sacre-Coeur surveying the hordes of tourists on the street leading to the foot of Sacre-Coeur.

 No, really:  I'm asking. Yesterday I got a high number of hits and visits. Yippee, said I, and clicked on the audience stats to see who these people were. Almost all the hits were from Moldavia. Um, OK, I said, glad you liked my stuff enough to click through my blog.

The Paris Metro, with the continuous cars of Line 1, 5 pm on a weekday.

Then I looked to see what websites were the sources. A gratifying number were from links at journals where I've had work published, but a disconcerting number were from a free porn site. I don't know quite how that happened. Perhaps it means simply that people are complex, not to say complicated.

The police forces out en masse for a group of teachers, from pre-school through university professors, protesting cuts to education funding. btw, gendarme means "people who are armed" with guns, not simply truncheons.The short couple in the center are about to be taken into custory.

Maybe it simply means that I'm not nearly as narrow/obscure/esoteric as I sometimes feel. Hi-ho.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Values on parade: eavesdropping at the Louvre


Back in the day, on our second trip to Paris, we moseyed through the gallery the Louvre docents had given to the Italian Renaissance. Most visitors were not moseying. They were trotting, hustling even, on their way to the room with only one access and no exit that houses La Jaconde, La Giaconda, aka Mona Lisa. We were enjoying the art and lingering, but not everyone felt the same way. One American (Madras shorts, loafers without socks) held forth in the middle of the room, proclaiming that no one really liked Picasso, that his fame was all a scam put forward by a cabal of critics. (As it happened, Walter adored Picasso, so he made some extraordinary faces to keep from laughing out loud.) However, there were also two guys who were thrilled by what they were seeing. They stood for some time before some master's painting of the martyrdom of St. Anthony, namely, the muscular yet lissome saint being riddled with arrows. Then one said to the other, with some exaltation and exhilaration and reverence, "You can't call yourself a man if you don't make Art."

Monday, January 28, 2019

Before it's too late

I have a clutch of poems that I wrote about Walter in his last years and last months. No new ones yet. The widow or widower writing a collection in grief is almost a trope, and I don't know that I'd have anything to add to the canon anyhow. When I write about him again, it will likely be very specific, both as tribute and as bald truth. In the meantime, here is a short poem I wrote after our appointment with the oncologist, the appointment in which he showed us all the scans, told us what they meant, and gave us his estimate of Walter's remaining life.


Not salad, fries, he said,
and the BLT,
on white, toasted, extra mayo,
and make it a BLAT
and I’ll take a Coke
and why not?
for he’d no need now
to stave off pleasure
to save up for old age
having reached eighty-nine
and just left the oncologist’s office
where they told us
about the metastases
and the nodes
and the mass.