That Paris Bookstore

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.

It said:

“To read is to need

To feel a rage.

A rage for things that cannot be;

Like peace.

Rage and cry, please

Cry until you love –

Please love

Me, you, and everyone

Even the bankers and oil barons”

I left it there in that Paris bookstore.

And it still hurts.


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