SHAME

 

So how would you translate “Dommage”?

The town is closed, remorselessly.

Only the tourists arrive. Erroneously migrating birds

Landing on a mirage,

They go to roost among gargoyles

Because the quays refuse

To open up their mouldering lids

For these illiterate hordes.

 

And yet there is a poetry to closure.

The flaneur goes on the scavenge for

Retreating paradigms of being away while summer’s here:

The dried leaves that loiter by the roots

Of planes inured to eczema,

The nuclear family groups

Hinting at abusive subterfuges

Festering back in mid-Western suburbia.

 

Aren’t the daughter’s hot-pants far

Too brief for her to sit like that on her father?

Aren’t the son’s blond ringlets too profuse,

Pre-Raphaelite? How distant is the mother.

Each idler eyes what these themselves disguise.

They constitute the sights

Now, while the town is dead, removed, away,

All its shops on holiday,

 

Though diamond anniversaries go by,

Hand in withered hand, on their way

To Burger King, out-burghering Rodin.

Still, Parisian sphinxes spout

To gush out the lie that the town is alive

Or just about to wake up.

Their liquid rhapsody

Appears so granitely absurd.

 

Anciently in Vogue,

Audrey Hepburn gets the final word.

“Make-up can only

Make you look pretty on the outside,

But it won’t help

If you’re ugly on the inside,

Unless you swallow the make-up.”

 

Paris, August, 2018

About anthonyhowelljournal

Poet, essayist, dancer, performance artist....
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