Blue sparks ignite
lipstick licked cigarettes,
illuminating time-worn walls
draped in history’s shroud.
whores standing sentry
over troubled cobblestone,
abandoned by an estranged fame,
smile forgivingly when asked the price
for passage on their rough waters.
They know man’s ermine treasons;
Witness to the violations committed
along the sweaty, outstretched arms
of rue Thérèse, their sulphur perfume
steals the postcard days away.
Days dust beneath the rug,
the love of a single woman;
A lost lover, with cat claw hands
wrung together in a sorrowful storm,
slits these velvet Parisian streets
with a wounding thrust that smiles.
When twenty-one, I lived another life;
the sun, revealing its bloody pulp,
stained my skin as I suckled
her sweet aquatic juices.
For many days we lapped
lustily, hungry for each other.
Sarajevo died, then,
a crushed nation
on our rented beach.
Crystalline waves cooled
your salt-sugared native thighs s
and I sought succulent, warmer
briochè breasts of foreigners,
natives who would strip
my pale American skin from its bones,
lay my skeleton open for ridicule.
Vulcanese mud baths sang
lazy tunes like children playing
hopscotch along the pebbled streets
of Lipari, near the blackened sand.
August came quietly;
my august of a solstitial summer.
We shared a coffee, then.
Like war-powers shared Berlin.
Tears bled from open wounds,
rutting charcoal rivers into ivory flesh,
painting tissues with mascara.
I spoke of leaving;
you hid your dreams
like paparazzi cameras
beneath the table.
Only the hem of your wishes developed.
The train from Prague rolled coarsely,
a swelling tug listing from side-to-side
under the weight of western passengers.
The city bowed its neo-Democratic head,
subservient to new kings with thick billfolds.
You felt for the retreating troops
carting socialism like a guarded treasure
in thin knapsacks and drawn curtain chagrins.
Salzburg faded into a shopworn memory,
as gelatinous as nimble laced history
dissolves beneath fingers of mist.
Intertwined lovers kissed
near the station, in the shadow’s alleyway.
Arles possessed a single, unobtrusive tombstone:
an eternal monument to perfection and madness.
Pleasant dreams of those child nights ceased to exist.
Arriving in Gare Nord, the cafe vendor smiled,
hurriedly, accepting every centime.
Smelling of anise and caramel, he limped,
periodically taking notice of valued items:
croissants and demitasses.
With a snap of his wrist,
a sparked match lit his cigarette,
sending my swanned mind wandering
over cartwheeling passages
scribed in sweat — when Vivaldi’s
next-door orchestra had undulated
against that plaster wall, cascading
raindrop-notes that soaked into my skin.
Paragraphs had spit from my fingers, then,
with pointed accusation
towards the rains that had come to shower Paris,