Hemmingway on the Left Bank


by Mardelle Fortier


Paris was enormous,

full of artists

in creative cross-fertilization.

We lived among poor workers

next to a saw-mill.

The apartment was drafty and old.

I loved it.

Each day I wrote, first

in a cramped office,

later in cafes. Coffee helped me,

wine helped even more.

I tried to find the one

true sentence

in that one right place


In Paris

The evenings of September are warm

and seductive. On sidewalk

cafes, talk must be clever

and lively: fashion, cinema,

artists, amour. Champagne

must be sparkling

even though that kiss

will only be a promise.

In October, fallen leaves will be

plastered to cobblestones

haunted by longing and memories.

Walking through rain

lamplit rooms glimpsed from the street.

The ghost of something in the air.

Tonight, stars--white flames,

touchable by readers and lovers.

Lights twinkle by the ever-flowing Seine.

Bridges seem to lead somewhere

connecting one's half of the city

to some unique magic

that can never be destroyed.