1991 • page 7

Home Poetry 1991 • page 7

July 23

“Why are you staring at me?”
I asked.
“Is it normal
or are you in love?”

Afterwards, you know
the feeling is powerful and condensed
deep down.
It rises slowly, slowly
my chest shudders then shakes
until it reaches my head
and tears run cooly down
into my ears.

I turn my head away,
look up as far as possible
at a white ceiling.
A white white ceiling.

“Tu as le cafard,” he tells me.
“What’s that?”
“You don’t know?”
“I know the bug, that’s all.”
He doesn’t answer;
sometimes he just doesn’t answer.

In the morning I smile and kiss him.
“J’avais le cafard,” I tell him,
“mais il est parti.
He crawled away.”

July 27

I could make a list
of illiterate dates
poem-less days,
they could go on
and on.
Who knows when
they would stop.

 

July 27

Sending postcards
to Algerian comedians with bellies
who flirt–
What do you write?
In drunken, belly-full French
on half a postcard blank
to someone you don’t know?

Nothing, that’s what
Nothing and fluff.

August 5

When he got back to France
he landed at the capital
of the Côte d’Azur
where all the wealthy
and the movie stars land.

There are posters in the entry hall
of palm trees and flowers,
beautiful women and blue water.
Everything so clean and shiny.

Back again, he thought
without enthusiasm.
Had to be at work at seven
the next morning.
Take the crowded smelly train
full of immigrants talking, babbling
(if they would just shut up)
to Lancaster beauty products,
through the tunnel that connects
Nice and Beaulieu Sur Mer.

I always get that number.
I always get 126, he said.
The time it takes
for the train to pass
through the tunnel darkness.

You count this time, he told me
on the way back
as if I were relieving him
of some heavy chore.

What speed do I count at? I wondered
but counted all the same.
Came up with 117.
You count faster than me, he said
as if this were an enviable quality.