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Sport 16: Autumn 1996

Paris to Pam Brown

Paris to Pam Brown

I have hardly seen the Eiffel tower—
from a distance
living a week in Paris

With another week to go
I think I will
hardly see it

I walk our street in
the Bastille
& sit & have coffee or a
Richard or pastis
or walk hours in
the Louvre
attending to the confident
page 146 stylish
look of the French
their little
their cars, their motor scooters,
always zipping
up on the footpaths
the cars
effortfully manoeuvering
around one another—
where they have parked at an angle
across a corner
across a drive
the large doleful phlegmatic man
& his timid little dog
(The dog stands under him
tiny & leonine, trembling
between the ornate curlicue
of the chair that support’s cet homme
a larger dog passes
& a small Citroen or Opel
attempts to park
or attempts to leave
a sip of coffee
& the car is gone & another one replaces it
I guess it was going
or we’d be looking at the same car, right?
—in the rue vielle du
where I don’t see any temple, either
tho I see
something’ large & impressive.
I think the temples
page 147 —read, I think, synagogues—in this former Jewish
were pulled down
Slightly warmer coloured
& a Moroccan in a burnoose
& just one
striped awning (orange & white)
it would look
Eastern enough
—like a Prud’hon or Gerard or other
orientalist painting
or one of those watercolours Australian
artists did
of the Middle East
while employed by the
to Record Our Exploits — late Streeton or
Roberts or whoever else went (Dundas?)
the walls
of the buildings slope back slightly in some of the alleys
& in one this slope
is matched by an equivalent
from the other side out over the alley
to meet
the shrinking, retreating wall opposite.
It looks
expressionist, or stagey
those Australian paintings
were mostly empty
as I recall
or emptyish
tho our tour of duty
was rather boring or alien
page 148 or the artist got there first
or too late, after
the soldiers had moved on
I wonder what Paris
thinks of Pam
—which scans so much better than
Pam thinks of Paris
but I wonder what she did think?
Paris thinks nothing of us
as I sit here sipping
or it thinks I sit badly
or my suit is an odd cut
Tho it’s glamorous enough
or so I think
The Swiss poet
was lovely
& loveable partly for the dagginess of his Swiss
apparent to us
—so apparent to Paris?
I know nothing
including, it appears, not necessarily even
what ‘scan’ means
(I meant only ‘sounds’)
I wonder
what Pam did think.
I don’t mean as a question—
as a report on myself: that is what I do,
I wonder.
Would she be as beautiful in Australia
(of a young woman cycling by)?
How small are
they, these apartments, in which these dogs & people live?
page 149 Is that black guy happier here than he would be
in London?
(it seems so) How old is that, that bit
of building there
sticking out from behind that modern one
a pale ochre with tiles that are funny & deep red &
unusually spikey & stickle-backed?
& isn’t the gilding a
little extreme on that figure of Mercury
off in the distance
atop his enormous pedestal?
Gee, Guido Reni
is a little overrated
& Simon Vouet definitely
I wouldn’t leave Paris (for ages) if I had the money