Sur la avenue au coucher du soleil,
streetlamps pop on in sequence,
while CitroŽns and Renaults
stream into traffic circles
barely escaping connubial conflagration
by American inches.
At 17, I flip through a dog-eared copy
of Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge,
lent me by a Frenchman,
inexplicably fluent in 50's hipcat English.
In la Champs …lysťes,
he presses the flesh to Daddy-Os,
trolls for cranked dollies,
a Lucky Strike always dangling
from his James Dean sneer.
I read the first page –
“I have never begun a novel
with more misgiving.” –
smile then plunge into a sea of words.
11-point Palatino Linotype, to be precise,
filled with Gold-bug Speedsters, raccoon coats,
shaved-head Buddhists, and flappers galore.
I learned then in front of La Gare de Lyon:
while streaming through our teeming time,
all of us exist in the now,
but also at the same time
in one parallel universe
after another, after another, after another.