Saturday, February 01, 2020

In a bar on the rue quincampoix

In a bar on the rue quincampoix
by Karen Chamisso

Cressida, I thought of you
wasting away in Margaritaville
as the hour came on to that gray and blue
moment -click - when it is time for a girl to chill.

Do foxes not have holes? I at least have one
on Rue Quincampoix, where I’m a known quality
where I’ve come to have my fun
where I’ve drunk my quantity.

In the glint of the lounge light there
I set up with a gin and tonic
a notebook opened on the sputtering flair
of a word – the chatter here is trans-Atlantic

the gals are Cally, the guy is German
and the French sociopetally clustered in the corner
eye contact is made by a man determined
to ask me what I’m writing – if he could have the honor

-well he can’t – I’m sorry – as you know
Cress, I too dive into the wreck
- and so many wrecks from long ago
- and so many from last week

- playing phrase and fable solitaire
to  find and wind my lash fine thread
through dead men’s eyes and dead men’s stares
the old old slag, the old old dread

- in particular, tonight: tart. A sweet, a pie
all the endless jar between honey and vinegar
I go to the OED, cause it don’t lie
I go to the Online, for the war

“Everyone wants a piece of the attention pie”
first came the sweet then came the bitter.
Adored the adored, but where incense upward flies
better be careful of the hitter

beneath the embrace. Cherchez la femme fatale
because she materializes suddenly, Cress, you with the bored
drawl,  cig in hand, like Lauren Bacall
that tall drink look - “will you walk in my lord”

and in a rush I see a visionary Gita
from Barbara Stanwyck to Gloria Graham
from Cressida to Nana, from Lana to Rita
from Hollywood Blv. to Iliam

Aaa…nd – and here the poem was interrupted. Just as I was about to put my migraine geometry to work, dot by dot, mapping out a state of exception that has lasted lo these patriarchal millenia, just as the postman always rings twice was going to disturb Cressida and Diomedes in their tent in my scratchin referorama, my friend Marc and his boyfriend (Luc?)  come barreling in the door, bringin in a night that will end I can already see at Cox,  heatseek my table and Marc lifts me up just as “Bonny and Clyde” comes on the P.A. and we dance a two step, and then start singing and the Frenchies join in in freaking out the American girls who haven’t yet experienced the French joy in singing along that sometimes just breaks out, a distant echo of Ça ira secularized, lyed and dyed and finding its objects in the popular song – of long ago.
Marc says, what is the poem about tonight?
“Vous avez lu l'histoire de Jesse James
Comment il vécut, comment il est mort

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