12th Arrondissement (draft notes)

Tents and couch’s cushions, blankets and packs
One in wild beard and Dali moustache is
yelling, making an arbitrary point at one
of the sixty cycling past. Men unkept.
On the grass 7th arrondissement
A dozen groups
Evenly spaced as electrons on valences
Ten women and one man in a circle
A woman and her book
A man on his cell
Three office women, one bicycle dropped
Two women and their prams
A couple sucking each others ears
A shirtless tanned man and his sun
Woman reclined in short shorts, open lower back of rest
Cropped top, mid-back blonde hair, arm extended as a pillow…
She stands, begins an animated gesture
No earbud phone
Her features disgusted, angry, Picassoesque dismay
Arguing in quick succession
Kicks air
Observation easily becomes scrutiny
Becomes unbecoming
Distance of inventory
Demographic checkboxes
A subway’s enclosure
Kneeling breasts to thighs
Youthglow cheek and hijab
Cupped hand raised
Street topside leathered skin, farmers creases
Skin following closely folds of bones
How he flicks three packet backers
For perfume samples
The vials in hand on St Germaine
The well-dressed white college kid
Girl asleep, chestnut hair and her curled around the
Cardboard at the metro that speaks for her
Bald Buddha under blanket on some steps
With half a dozen cola cans.
Almost a birder eagerness
To not meet eyes or sudden moves
But note the trim woman
Short cropped grey hair
Sign about an illness
And someone black, scraggley beard
A call that would transpose to English
Your-o, your-o
The habitat of five in mixed flock
With dogs who are raucous in swallow-like hollows
But don’t interact with the invader species
That come for velos and cocoa in sacs
Each dash into shelter bringing back
Bon bons that are € 40 to €110 per kilo
Or about mid-range accomodation
When not sleeping under skies.
Try to be incidental in the same ecosystem.
Then there is that odd red bird, cawing
A zigzag of gutteral haggard mutter
Our predator eyes on each other.
The smooth face and playing of the
Roma boy with accordian, open mouth of hat
Like a baby maw inaudible though it shifts
Could be the wind
Then the camouflaged species who walk among us,
Part-time asking for well-modulated aid
Well-groomed using the forty cent public washrooms
To stay fresh. Perhaps you talked with one
But what wasn’t pertinent to know never arose
From the pleasant chatter, city noise a kind
Of mechanical birdsong coming from my throat.

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