Today I got off the metro at Concorde just as the sun was setting and as I looked across the fountain, to the golden dome of the Hôtel des Invalides, I realised I was looking at the banner from my blog. The sky was exactly the same- thick with dull clouds, edged with pearly sunset colours. When the Eiffel Tower came into my view, the pink sky behind it was hazy and even the Tower itself looked muted, as if I was looking at a faded photo.
I took that photo (the one I've used for my banner at the top of my blog) two years ago. Did I know then that I would still be here now?
Paris often feels like a collection of old photographs, with its pale buildings and pale skies, your viewpoint a vignette- dark around the edges where trees cast shadows. Sometimes I get the sensation that I'm not living in the moment, but rather remembering it, that every step I take is a step that I once took and every view I see is already a snapshot in my mind and I've remembered it so clearly because it was significant somehow.
Now. I know I said I would never, ever inflict my poetry on you again. But...
I had these thoughts while I wandered home this evening and I knew that they weren't entirely new, that I had written something similar before in the guise of 'a poem'. Will you humour me, just this once? Remember I still have a Scabby Coldsore Nose so you have to be nice to me and do as I say. Also, I do want to be a writer one day and a lot of writers come to Paris to write. All I have written, since moving to Paris, is about getting drunk and aside from my blog I have also written snippets here and there of what, at the time, I fancied would be novels, or plays, or short stories, none of them set in Paris.
I should at least have one poem about the city to show for my time living in Paris, so here it is:
My Only (I promise) Poem About Paris.
The sky gathers around the tops of pale buildings,
yellow and luminescent on the cityscape,
running into white nothing as the sky
stretches away from the city and
narrow streets make narrow points of view.
In the dark underneath,
tiled walls breathe old skulls
onto tired men who sleep close to them,
and who touch you like the death of a stranger,
or a forgotten friend.
Then from the dank, sprawling warren,
slowly ascend to the clean streets
and the white lines of the city
and tie-dyed, tea-stained winter sky
that makes you feel nostalgic
for things you've never known
and sometimes even for Paris,
even though you're there