PARIS CAFE, Metro Saint Paul

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.


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