wwwiThe Awkward Squad ww wwwwPoetry by Eddie Castellan



wHigh up underground in Paris xx7 September 2009

The summer city is lost without its crowd
calm but not at ease in fractured silence
lacking the automatic spirits, the precise
and machined assurance of oblique work

We make love and space for Mondrian,
25 floors above the roots and stars of insects,
aloof from the cloisters and carrion, plotting
quiet and harsh dispossessions of bells

And fall like snakes to find a jaded toy in
flatness and starkness on folded tin bogies,
placed on thick black greasy track by
a great grimy hand from nowhere in a box

Suddenly and everywhere there's stubbled sax
racing, juddering and Latin jiving
to the pulse and stink of the muscley girl
and the bearded girl and the acrid puke of brakes

Hot she-devils erupt under the bite of white tiles
turning the kaleidoscope to off and Metro dark
and spaces of events, as the city sheds reluctantly
its body hair, and rich and sticky sweat

But the power-play dissolves in just three stops,
under the thrash of unwrapped sheet steel doors,
dwindling to the tenor's black-hole grin and
glutinous cap, all deathly stained with centimes

The drag and drop of the overground lures us
to absence of malice, Madeleine and Stalingrad,
towers and pieces, weighty and solid with
dust and cats, marked in stiff turf on the map

Cacophony and maze distil to moving thoughts,
schematics, projections, places on the board,
so now we know the human system, somehow
plagued by gaps and newly-unsolved paths

Dropping the keys to unanswered illusion,
a symphony astringently dissatisfied,
our night train breathes from Austerlitz,
counts the elusive and whispers the unsaid

It's neither the Metro nor Gare d'Austerlitz but Monet's deliciously atmospheric view of Garew St-Lazare seems the irresistible choice
One of the Seine bridges, I forget which
Chez le bouquiniste - one of Paris's trademark booksellers along the banks of the Seine

All poems and other texts on this site are the copyright of Richard Edward Hugh Castellan 2009