Nov 202012





Surprised that the rough sleeper was a little boy.  
Me too: but remember his dog licking its red, scabbed foot?

Surprised the skinhead gave up his seat to the pregnant woman.  
Who might, the year before, have worn a niqab like me.

Surprised that the kid on the Metro lit a coy fuse of optimism.  
Hmm. He was the age you were when we first met… and making notes in crayon.

Surprised that the onion soup was nice.
Though delivered, like bad news, without grace or ceremony.

Surprised that the waiter took time and care to cut the fish. 
Really? I saw a charred corpse, stinking of childhood campfires.

Surprised the absinthe was so tender and reminiscent.  
Ha! Green poison that dragged you into sentimentality.

Surprised by the heart-jump kiss of cold cream and warm cappuccino.  
And by your shame and need for someone other than me?

Surprised that the white gallery was irresistible.
You all over: seduced by surface, boxed by flash and light.

Surprised that the staircase at the Musée fell beautifully short of orgasm.  
I’ll grant you that: woman became man, swirls became angles and edges.

Surprised by the eager violence of wind and rain at Pere Lachaise.  
And my glance? The one that was trying to unwrap your desires?

Surprised that the Seine split into two.  
No surprise at all! It’s not the Thames, never our Thames.

Surprised that the fresh flowers on Chopin’s grave brought us joy.  
No, no. You simply plunged into romance and forgot I was there.

Surprised that the bells of Our Lady were so reminiscent of Housman’s.  
So typical of you… dreaming of England while drinking beer in the 4th.

Surprised by the Sacre Coeur’s mist and easy rhythms.  
Really? And that silly square of faux history, fake artists and fur hats?

Surprised that the harpist played ‘Hallelujah’.  
You can’t be, surely? They always bloody play that.

Surprised that, in the creaking-floored upstairs, a piano softened and lifted.  
And yet it disturbed you too, rang with discord, made you hate me.

Surprised that, when the time came, I had no doubt who that padlock was for.  
Not true. You had a choice of three – and got it wrong.

Surprised that the old songs raised new spirits.  
Christ. Melancholy and gush: why do you do it?

OK. OK. Surprised that we…
Yeah. Me too.


 Posted by at 10:03 pm

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