NOSTALGIA FOR PARIS
by Michael Blumenthal
I lived in Paris an entire year
between 2003 and 2004, in a
bright lovely flat at 5, Rue Lanneau
just below the Panthéon, up the hill
from the Boulevard Saint-Germain.
I did all the things Americans in Paris
are supposed to do: I went
for my morning baguette in Saint Michel,
strolled in the Jardin du Luxembourg,
visited the zoo in the Jardin des Plantes
where Rilke’s great poem “The Panther”
was inspired. I sat on the benches of the
Jardin des Tuileries, watched les bateaux-mouches
traversing the Seine. I drank my expresso
at Deux Magots, not far from the table
where Sartre sat. I heard Little Jimmy Smith
off the Rue St. Denis, read my bilingual Baudelaire,
felt with Rimbaud that life was sometimes la farce
à mener par tous. I ate falafel in the Marais,
saw my Rodin, my Picasso too. I had not one
beautiful lover in Paris, nor even a homely one.
Many night I traversed le pont neuf alone—
there was much to be charmed by in Paris,
that’s for sure. But what I remember best of all
is the American Diner on the Rue des Écoles,
sitting there Sunday mornings with my son,
dreaming of home, wherever that was.
Copyright © 2011 by Michael Blumenthal.