Tales of a Paris Flâneur
Tales of a Paris Flâneur metro stories

carl_halling Residing London Metropolitan Area
Autoplay OFF   •   a year ago
'Tales of a Paris Flâneur', which consists of a patchwork of memories and impressions of Paris compiled between autumn 1983 and spring '84, and possibly partially originating as notes or makeshift journal entries, came close to being rejected as inferior even by my standards, but was ultimately saved in May 2017 by being fused with another Parisian piece, and then restructured. Photo from ca. 1983 or '84.

Tales of a Paris Flâneur

My Paris begins with

Those early days

As a conscious flâneur;

I recall the couple

On the Metro,

When I was still innocent

Of its labyrinthine complexities;

Slim pretty white girl,

Clad head to toe

In new blue denim,

Wistfully smiling,

While her muscular black beau

Stared straight through me

With fathomless, fulgorous orbs;

And then one of them spoke

(Almost in a whisper):

‘Qu’est-ce que t’en pense?’

Until it dawned on me,

Yes, the slender young Parisienne

With the distant desirous eyes

Was no less male than I.

Being screamed at in Pigalle,

And then howled at again

By some kind

Of wild-eyed wanderer

Who suggested I seek out

The Bois de Boulogne

For what he saw as my destiny;

Cash squandered

On a cheap gold-plated toothbrush,

Portrait sketched at the Place du Tertre,

Paperback books

By Symbolist poets,

Second hand volumes

By Trakl and Delève,

Metro taken to Montparnasse,

Where I slowly sipped

A demi-blonde

In one of those brasseries,

Such as those

Immortalised by Brassai

In the famous photographs.

And where an ancient loup de mer

In a naval officer’s cap,

His table bestrewn

With empty wine bottles

And cigarette butts,

Repeatedly screeched ‘Phillippe!’

Until a patient young bartender

With patent leather hair,

And an affable half-smile,

Filled his wine glass

Quite to the brim,

With a mock-obsequious:

“Voila, mon Captaine!”

Losing Rory’s address,

Scrawled on a page

Of Musset's Confession,

Walking the length

And breadth of the Rue St. Denis;

‘What an artists paradise,’

Comme on m’a écrit une fois.

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