Carl Halling

Born 7 October, London, UK.

Tales of a Paris Flâneur

My Paris begins with
Those early days
As a conscious flâneur;
I recall the couple
On the Metro,

When I was still innocent
Of its labyrinthine complexities;

Slim pretty white girl,
Clad head to toe
In new blue denim,
Wistfully smiling,
While her muscular black beau

Stared straight through me
With fathomless, fulgorous orbs;

And then one of them spoke
(Almost in a whisper):
‘Qu’est-ce que t’en penses?’
Until it dawned on me,
Yes, the slender young Parisienne

With the distant desirous eyes
Was no less male than I.

Being screamed at in Pigalle,
And then howled at again
By some kind
Of wild-eyed wanderer
Who suggested I seek out

The Bois de Boulogne
For what he saw as my destiny;

Cash squandered
On a cheap gold-plated toothbrush,
Portrait sketched at the Place du Tertre,
Paperback books
By Symbolist poets,

Second hand volumes
By Trakl and Delève,

Metro taken to Montparnasse,
Where I slowly sipped
A demi-blonde
In one of those brasseries,
Such as those

Immortalised by Brassai
In the famous photographs.

And where an ancient loup de mer
In a naval officer’s cap,
His table bestrewn
With empty wine bottles

And cigarette butts,
Repeatedly screeched ‘Phillippe!’

Until a patient young bartender
With patent leather hair,
And an affable half-smile,
Filled his wine glass
Quite to the brim,

With a mock-obsequious:
“Voila, mon Captaine!”

Losing Rory’s address,
Scrawled on a page
Of Musset's Confession,
Walking the length
And breadth of the Rue St. Denis;

‘What an artists paradise,’
Comme on m’a écrit une fois.
153 Total read