Sunday, August 16, 2009

Avignon, July (2009)

Nevertheless, we’ll be gone from here before it begins.

A city disappearing under festival posters.

That will be the memory.

I bought all my pronunciation could carry.

Le Bar Américain holding Wimbledon on an outdoor Bravia.

Table service ought to be sporadic, selective.

Show of authenticity.

Churches’ convenient distances (how many within bell-shot?).

‘Only of so much interest to non-Catholics, perhaps.’

The phrasebook covers us to the laundromat.

Tourist argues with the girl behind the desk: surely a gallery that only takes an hour should advertise as such(!)

Striding, intent on the next photo... only to gatecrash a raincoat group shot.

A grey sky needs a garden.

I don’t know a word.


  1. What at first seem discontinuous fragments prove, upon closer inspection, to be shards of a shattered journal entry--or letter, perhaps--about a trip to Avignon. And the chronology of the shards is shuffled: the story seems to begin well after the beginning--perhaps near the end, just before the departure--and end...who knows where? And the disconcerting amibiguity of the final fragment (do you mean that you don't know a particular word or that you're afflicted with aphasia?) somehow manages to be pleasant. I like a poem that makes me work a little to find the connections.

    Do you know Jim Harrison's ghazals? They're couplets without logical connections among them. Harrison says "their only continuity is made by a metaphorical jump."

  2. David, thanks for your very insightful comments.

    I suppose the final fragment could also be an answer to a question such as, "Do you know any French?" Maybe.

    Jim Harrison's ghazals... I hadn't read them, but managed to find one online. Quite surreal. I like that quote too ("their only continuity is made by a metaphorical jump.") I like things to work in that way. So thanks, I will have to get hold of Harrison's book.

  3. Beautifull poem stu, so much truth in what you say, my favourite line was
    show of autenticity (probably because there is irony in it).
    And I also loved the ending its great.

  4. Thanks Mariana.

    Yes there's definitely irony in there.

    I often felt like I was being mocked and/or ignored by wait-staff while travelling through Europe. Almost as if it were part of the act! It's funny in retrospect...

  5. You seem like you are developing a style, unique, very smart, a little distanced. And that kind of fractured structure which is so perfectly apropos.