What is it about you that daily replaces you In front of my eyes
No matter how far from you I travel?
Were you the first one I saw from above
With your grey slates,
And laddering towers to the Gods?
Specs of gallant green
Among your columns and follies,
Your marching boulevards
Like lines of proud soldiers-
Brandishing the Tri-Color
For fear the memory of Marie Antoinette
May fall forsaken.
The whitened Sacred Heart
Upon your butted highest spot-
Where Saint Denis fell to martyrdom
Long before the painters-
Doused in Absinthe-
Captured the high-kicking,
Amid the Moulin’s endlessly turning sails.
Your very own Taj Mahal-
Not so in keeping
With your concrete corinthian cornices
And grotesquely glaring gargoyles
And yet so missed when no longer in view.
Standing as proud as your citizens,
By the far reaches
Of your once bohemian Left banks,
Where cheers of toasts were often heard
Amid the enlightened quarrels of Sartre,
In praise for the flat-shoed Stein
And sorrow for the almost exiled Wilde,
Lies your most celebrated folly of all;
Your monstrous clunk of iron-
Within who’s restaurant Maupassant
Would willingly dine to be excused
From the very view in which he sat,
Which melted itself into the heart of me.
More than a dozen times
Have I scaled your heights
To always draw a fresh breath of awe
Upon the sight from your summit,
Like the minute memory of the goldfish;
But struck again and again
By the beauty of its surroundings
As if witnessed for the first time.
Your streets planned out before me
With cars racing onwards,
Inwards and through-
So much like the blood
Pumping through the entangled archeries
Of my beating heart.
I am a million miles from you again,
On top of the world of another city
And yet you are next to me
Wherever I stand,
In front of me
No matter what I see
Still so fresh and fervently