12 rue de l’Odeon
Drinking wine outside with Ernie, late morning at Deux Magots,
but it was a long night, as they always are and
it’s a little early to be debating literary merits, still…
Gleefully tearing into expatriates somewhat like us,
with the same gusto with which we attack our baguettes,
lathering well their wounded crusts with salt cream butter,
mais certainment, avec fromage blanc et doux,
waving pour le garçon, when red transfusion bottle is empty.
Espresso, dragging harsh cigarettes (he smoked them in those days)
decide it isn’t too cold for April in Paris; meander over, visit Gert,
hoping, like always, she’s not drunk, or worse, fighting with Sylvia,
We will never complain, though, for she lets us read Le Matin
free of charge, doesn’t mind when we at times write in the margins,
loans us books, welcomes transient writers with a smile, a meal
maybe, yet always ready to provide assistance, or quick look at
mighty Ulysses, if she has it up to date, and if Jimmy’s sober.
Say hello to Scott, after a word or two, watch him saunter out.
If he ever gets as good as he says he will be, quelle surprise…
Ernie convinces me he will be true st voice; Shaw is just a dilettante,
It seems we grew up forever much too long ago along the Rive Gauche,
there was never again a place in our lives that was so passionate.
Some went on to no small acclaim, Ernie, the best, fought all of our fights.
They called us “un generation perdu”, because of the War, perhaps
we always laughed. How so lost, when we knew where we were?
When I read how he died, many years later,
it seemed to me he left as he had lived.
He said this world would not contain him; it did.
Seeds of destruction, planted so long ago,
yet, we wanted to be pen-pushing heroes
Me, Ernie, drinking outside Deux Magots.