By Annie Shepherd for The Parisian Post.
* * *
He crosses Rivoli, steps over the Metro vent
where once underneath deep damp dungeons
breathed the sighs of brave broken men
who dared defy a king at Versailles.
Their cries echo along the line
from Bastille to Concorde
wake sleeping minds two hundred years on
when a newer man now strides free
to his daily coffee
neat out the shower, sculpted hair
suit to match and debonair
he whips Le Parisien under his arm
winds like a cat through the taxi queue
toward le zinc where I sit at the bar
sipping café noisette with buttered baguette.
« Un express! » he slaps it down
the two euro piece – the new king
picks a hard-boiled egg, squeezes the shell.
« B’jour M’dame,” the bits fall –
he nods to the man at the back by the door
sitting under a fading poster
‘Jean Anouilh – Les Mains Sales’
cigarette lingering, yellowing fingers,
staring through to a
new morning waking up,
the serveuse stacking the coffee serré
ramming the filter arm tight round,
steam and aroma, the express served up
in a cup dolls’ house size,
he stirs the spoon, checks the headlines,
sips, surveying the passers-by,
the female buttocks sculpted in jeans
the boulangerie girl with arms like baguettes
school-children dragging their feet
crouched like snails under their satchels.
Then the fire engine screams an unknown danger
Haussmann opened these boulevards
clearing the way for cannon balls
but now these streets are clogged with
taxis, busses, gendarmes whistling
chaos of Liberté, Fraternité.
« Un Ricard! » the butcher steps in
thick fingers slapping the zinc .
winks a bonjour, throws it back
steps out, nearly run over by Bus 96.
9 a.m. now, here comes the old man
legs like an O and a képi hat
led by Chekspeer, Jack Russell eager.
Old man wavers, takes the pavement seat
ageless: staring into the timelessness.
copyright © 2012 Annie Shepherd all rights reserved
Contact Annie Shepherd for more of her published poetry, including her collection “Jostled by Ghosts”. Click here for a free pdf copy of her satirical poems written for The Parisian Post during the 2012 presidential elections.