A book told me to love ‘til it hurts,
like there’s a choice.
I never stood a chance.
We met one night at the hotel bar.
Both of us drinking alone, yet she wasn’t afraid.
She quoted me Baudelaire to be cute.
I talked about beauty and truth
She quoted the Art of War to be coy
I talked about the agony of peace.
We went looking for a slice of life
And got lost in senseless streets.
I had plans. Loose, hopeful plans to learn something.
To feel the city.
To look it in the eye and be one with the light.
After Notre Dame, things changed.
We were mouthing lust in hallowed halls,
Sliding hands along old stones
feeling for piety and the passage of time.
We saw the Seine,
We smelled the piss
We drank in the cemeteries and watched graffiti crumble.
Then we fucked in her room, in the toilet, and in the shower.
She had tattooed nipples and redoubtable opinions.
She nearly missed her flight because we were fucking again.
I bought her a postcard in that bookstore after Notre Dame.
“To read is to need
To feel a rage.
A rage for things that cannot be;
Rage and cry, please
Cry until you love –
Me, you, and everyone
Even the bankers and oil barons”
I left it there in that Paris bookstore.
And it still hurts.