Tag Archives: France

Ordinary Lovely

1

2

{Rue Cler, Paris}

For me
there is nothing
lovelier
than regular people
living their lives.

This ordinary loveliness
is my favourite thing
to photograph.

Lately, I’ve noticed
more
anger
and toxic squabbling
on my Facebook feed.
Mean, disheartening comments
appear below the posts
of friends.

I help people
with their problems
for a living
so I know
the world is
sometimes
hard.

But I wonder
if we don’t
also
make it harder
by dwelling
in darkness.

I don’t know.
I don’t have the solutions.

For me,
for now,
I’m going to keep posting
ordinary loveliness
and talking to students
one
lovely
kid
at a time.
 
 

play like you live

play
“Play like you live” ~ Performance advice from judge Harry Connick Jr to a contestant on American Idol.

I love to watch children play.

There is a graceful madness
in the creation
of new worlds.

Prairies of freedom.
Explosions of imagination.
Thrones of power.

What part of growing up
makes us forget
how to play?

Paris. {Always a good idea.}

red umbrella

The first time I visited Paris
we lived in Mexico.
From Mexico to Paris
is not just a flight
it’s a different freaking star system.
They give you a new brain,
a chic wardrobe
and as much cafe au lait
as you’d like
but only for breakfast.

I’d been reading for months,
learning the rules:
1. Always say “Bonjour Madame or Monsieur” when entering a shop.
2. Do not pick up items in stores. {This includes everything from sweaters to oranges.}
3. Move quickly and in the correct direction in the Metro.
4. Be aware of scams and thieves.
5. Dress nicely for the butcher. {That means everyone.}

You see, I’d never been to Europe.
I wanted to be
an expert.
Later, rule number four would prove useful
in Barcelona. And in Japan,
all these rules have proved helpful
except number four
which is simply
not relevant.

In the onyx light of early morning
our taxi sped from Charles de Gaulle
to the 7th Arrondissement
{a word that has taken me a decade to master}.
As the squat houses of the suburbs clicked over
we travelled back in time. I awoke
outside our hotel, surrounded by six-storey Haussmann.
I cried.
DP said, “It’s okay. You’re just tired.”
But it wasn’t that.
It was the beauty.

From the window of our room,
the street told a story
like a movie.
A woman in a red peacoat
and black rubber boots
carried a brown paper bag
filled with long loaves of bread.

A green wooden box of red geraniums
hung below our window.

As we descended the stairs
into the metro at Ecole Militaire,
I reached for DPs hand.
People hurried in both directions
and the tile-covered walls pulsed
like a heart.
Light yellow tiles
like lemonade
or butter on toast.

At a cafe, a small girl with excellent posture
and a green velvet jacket sat with her mother
and two aunts frosted in silk scarves
and impeccable ponytails.
They let her pour the hot chocolate
into their white porcelain cups.

The Mona Lisa was not smaller than I imagined.
{I’d done my research.}
I was not fully prepared for her smile,
the pull of it, how I’d seek her out
again
in that too-warm room
where the guards kept
an eye
on our attachment.

Under the lights of the Eiffel Tower
we ate chocolate crepes
and took photos
of the carousel blur,
cotton candy pink horses
and their small riders.

The airport shuttle showed up
on time
sleek + white + alien.
We drove around the city
plucking other travellers
out of their dreams
and vacations.
We crossed a bridge.
It was raining.
I cried.

Paris, I think,
is a woman’s city.

Rue Cler Short Stories: 10

girlsFive years
of joy
in red skinny jeans,
a perfect navy cardigan
{not too warm + not too cold}
and blue all-stars
for her flying feet.

Brown bobbed hair
frames her fierce face.
Bangs are restrained
with a tiny barrette.

Chin out.

Under her right eye
a small cut
or birthmark
marks its territory.
Makes her look
ready for battle.

She runs into the street
beside the cafe
spins
and spins
again.
Arms in the air.

Not a ballerina,
this one,
much stormier.
Resolute.
Joan of Arc.

She looks at me.
Knows she has an audience
which she likes
but does not need.

The red skinny jean girl
is joined
on the street
by blonde pigtail girl
in a pink shirt
and layered skirt.
She swishes her skirt,
very small
flamenco dancer.

For a few moments,
they spin together
in the centre
of the street
which is
for them
exactly the same
as spinning
at the centre
of everything.