Two Poems from See-saw
Implodal Press, 2005
Excerpt from “Paris”
by James Heller Levinson
leech of my youth
bleach-coated armadillos trafficking in polysemous underwear
are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man ...
I am living
at the Villa Borghese. There is not a crumb of dirt
a chair misplaced.
over a Demi with Beckett at the Cafe Select,
Giacometti at La Coupole ...
with Breton over aperitif sessions at the Cyrano ...
mother a place in the world called Paris.
A very big
place & far off & once again big.
City of light
to trip this fumbling inertness into ignition
to immerse in sponges of vulvatude & beaujolais
to emerge into
to arrive callow & ignorant
innocence an edible generous as plankton
in three days I had the crabs
Excerpt from “My Paris,
by Anthony Seidman
The city as the locked gate, and the rose trembling in wet wind.
The omnibus window rattling and Helen wearing a pearl necklace.
The city as an African mask, the tooth, and the bone through milk.
The city as Zone and the propeller of two breasts on the platter
The city as velocity, and the river churning in the radiator of a young
The omnibus turns onto a street peopled with darkness;
the windows are empty, yet there’s an orgy in a salon, & a tulip
in the breast of a tombstone.
That city, though, was not my city. Far off,
Lorca’s mascara ran as the banderillas skewered the clouds,
and the slow
bull pushed through dust, turning up a boy holding a spear of wheat.
Lorca wept from his balcony facing the South, as
far South as the boulevards of the San Fernando Valley.
Yet the fishmongers of Paris were lighting pianos on fire, and a green
guitar with the fins of mermaid was seen in a pawnshop window used as
for an Algerian rug shop, where a squad of progressive phrenologists
fashioned skulls of snow, or sipped liquid watches through straws.