Month: March 2015

Two Paris Poems

Metonym

Many thanks to Metonym, a literary journal published by William Jessup University, for including the following two poems in their Spring 2015 issue.

Nineteen

                                                            —Paris, 1980

April—the cruelest month for me that spring

Beauty, briefly, held out her slender hand

Carelessly, though, I scared her off with words

Dumb mumbles, even silence would’ve served

Even my own bashful breath, if honest

For a moment, all eyes focused on me

Girls paraded by, all in slow motion

Here:  A tight pink dress, a pair of pink heels

I couldn’t control the roll of my tongue

Jesus, forgive me—I was just a kid

Kids make mistakes when testing out their wings

Look!  Look!  She smiled at you!  She likes you!  Go!

My so-called friends egged me on, urging me

Not one of them had even dared to cough

Or ask the time as her high heels clicked by

Perdón, I’d said, Your pink dress pales my red

Quirky?  Perhaps.  But my shirt was pale red

Reason enough for her to turn and wink

Strutting off alone through the sidewalk crowd

That’s when my friends got pushy.  Go! Go! Go!

Up ahead, I saw her:  A glimpse of pink

Visible one moment, then gone the next

Writhing through the crowd, I caught her thin wrist

Excuse me, I said—then my jaw went loose

Years slipped by before I could forgive myself

Zeal turned out to be my passion’s foe

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Piropos y Propinas

                                               —Paris, 1980

 A small token of gratitude

  a tip left for a café waiter

    a few francs by an empty cup

 a

Some flirtatious compliment

  whistled at a woman on the street

    Aye!  Qúe buena la rubia!

 a

How many mademoiselles

  might stop to say Merci

    their grins a gift for your gab?

 a

How many café waiters

  might race across a crowded street

    to thank you for your copper coins?

 a

A waiter only chases you if stiffed

  if left no tip

    waving his finger in the air

Some women only stop

  to stomp your brittle shell

    to crack your cocky smile with a smirk

But not if she’s from Spain

  she’ll appreciate piropos

    maybe even rattle off some words

Words you’ll misinterpret

  drops of rain you won’t understand

    and so, a fool, you’ll snap at her

Like snapping at some waiter

  racing up the boulevard

    waving your wallet in the air

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