The Seductive Scent of Paris
Is rarely sensed in this valley town
With its bumper-hugging dusty pick ups and
Dolled up blondes with pink nails
And its boys with caps on backward—
Living under the tent of their sagging pants.
But this morning, I waken to the smells
Of coffee in small cups at a certain temperature—
Trees whirring in the butter knife wind
A scent of mustard and chestnut leaves, autumn
Autumn in Paris, the end of tomato season here
The thought made me walk slowly
As if I were on my youthful way
To Victor Hugo’s apartment
This time with enough Francs to climb the stair
Again, alone, as I always imagine myself
Alone among the poets and the planets, alone
Some how I have forgotten how lost I was
In that place, how mixed-up and angry and tired
A hick on the boulevard, forlorn and lonesome—
Shining and earnest with her quill dipped in ink
Brushing her hair in public to entice the Arab boys
What takes me there, so far from the field hands
And double axles and dirt bards of home?
Look, look at the size of my head!
Who do I think I am to be reveling in Paris?
I retreat to the bright corner of my suburban hermitage
I bring out the fountain pen and green ink
To write in the small embossed leather book
Of the same color I keep expressly for this—
And in this simple movement, I find my way
Back to the only address I have ever really known.