Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

For Apollinaire

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

For Apollinaire

Article excerpt

The river goes under the Pont Mirabeau . . .

The green trysting trees in July breeze,

the tourists and their summer hats, the soldes

signs in every plate-glass window. The river

goes under the Pont Mirabeau. I wanted

to make you feel the heat of the sun, the stirring

of breeze. I wanted to redeem

the day, having woken like a broken toy

on a bed I could not remember making,

a life shaping up to slip by

so fast there never was time to change it,

winding it back crank by crank

even as it went slipping, spooling forward . . .

I went into the boulangerie,

slipping, spooling forward, and asked

in halting French for ham and cheese, the river goes

under the Pont Mirabeau, I wanted this,

and I wanted that, I wanted- what did it mean

to be a river sliding under the white arches?

The ponts are trivial, the water is fresh,

the terminal is here where I go under

the city, slipping forward even when I

am heading back, unsure of what it means. …

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