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Monday, August 26, 2013

365 Poems: What I left

Day 238


One day. Eight hours. That's all I had with Paris. It was not enough. But it was ... something else. I left a breath somewhere on those unknown Paris streets as the bus turned a corner and we saw La Tour Eiffel for the first time. My gift to Paris. Le temps passe vite.


It's almost cruel, eight hours in Paris. But sometimes cruelty is better than nothing, better than not knowing. Somewhere within those walls is the Mona Lisa. I didn't see her. But I was thisclose.


Those moments you see something so familiar, so, sorry, iconic, you see them and they become not a movie or a story or a magazine spread or whatever, but real. And when they become real, they also become yours. MerciMusée du Louvre.


Near the front steps of Notre Dame, someone was dressed as a hunchback, wearing a grotesque mask, and taking pictures with tourists. But that horror could not take away from the graceful beauty that soars above you. Buttresses, it seams, can fly. Mon dieu.


And this.


The French -- they, too, do gardens well. (Although they are fond of making boxes of the trees.)
Beau jardin!


No triumphant march through the Arc d'Triumph.
But the driving down the Champs e'Elyses, even in a glaring red double-decker bus -- Merci, Paris.


A 5 o'clock ticket. A too-slow bus ride. A missed meal on the most famous street in Paris. No Mona Lisa, no Notre Dame tour. But this. Getting up at 4:30 a.m. for eight hours in Paris, and this -- I forget how many euros the tickets were, but truly, MasterCard, it was priceless, and beyond time. Seeing Paris like this, with my eyes, through my camera, I could never look long enough or take enough pictures or have words to write about it. If I lost a breath on the bus when we got our first glimpse of her, I had the breath knocked out of me, maybe forever, when we came out of the elevator and saw Paris before us. Even now, I don't have to shut my eyes, or look at any of my dozens of pictures, to see this. The best souvenirs are the ones we take home inside us. Vous aimer, Paris.


Oh, La Seine. Someday.


Clouds and sun playing over the city, shadow and light, the wind in our faces from this second level. 
 La ville de la lumière et des ombres.


Here's a cafe similar to where we would have liked to had lunch.
But you always have to leave something for next time, ne vous?

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