met me in the southwesteast corner of that quaint bookstore Shakespeare & Co where his spine crackled into me like London Bridge, because it’s awfully cramped back there, in that corner where they hide all their Shakespeare plays and sonnets in rare editions, I’ve always had an affinity for 104, April perfumes in hot Junes burned. I had a copy of As You Like It nestled in the crook of my left breast, and he smiled wearing a pure white tunic tan and I thought him exotic what with velutinous brunette curls and matching irises; and he apologized in my second language, désolé, clumsy thing he is! took a look and changed words like a Rosetta Stone and asked for a cup of joe, words exactly, like an American, said it would be the only form of expressing his sincerest sorry. Cup of joe for our woe. I thought why not and put my book down, and he led me to the storefront with the carts and loads of secondhand discounts, wasn’t this where Ulysses published first? love loves to love love, kilometer zero and a perfect scene of the Notre Dame just across the way, and I think we took our pitstop at some Dunkin’ Donuts, oh dear with our cup of joe just put two and two together, so we could sit ourselves on a carved bench facing the sanctuary and the bells sounded the hour and that’s a sound I never grew jaded to. Asked his name: Cameron, and where are you from? originally Puerto Rico, then leaped to London and skipped to Paris; I told him, Corning, New York, and had to explain the divergent everydayland contra the Big Apple,
Tea or coffee. I’ll have tea, my favorite is looseleaf chai with a dollop of milk and honey; but I know what he has is some ginseng green, suits just the well. You’re so good to me; get in a bad mood, you’re so good to me, and I love it, love it. Love how the cotton sheets caress my flesh and entangle my nudity whole, and love the plethora of aromas wafting thennow from lavender puffs rising from the vanity or eucalyptus scent of the pillows then come the sweat breath rank of a done job, soon hopefully.
So would I like to go back somewhere a bit more private? He was no different from a creep at a bar preying on valley girls and offering the umpteenth round of liquor til she’s gone gone, and I thought when I stepped in some hostel well as well this be the place I die, take to my surprise when he stripped himself clear of his tunic, didn’t know what to expect alone in a strange man’s presence, don’t know why I had been surprised, come to think of it. Button by button by button trailing downwards revealing peeks of chiseled chest and toned stomach tan and he peered to the glossed hardwood floor as he did so, letting a curl or two fall onto his forehead and dangle, so when he glanced up it was a pose of a model on Numéro Homme sparkling eyes. I melted. There are some you completely lose yourself unto and no matter the scenario you’ve fallen victim, everyone is victim to human interaction, why must we go on about touching and feeling and speaking and loving and why is one human being so important to another human being when there are billions of human beings in the world and we’re all replaceable, hate how one person can mean so much to me when none of us matter in the grand scheme of things, but there he was and there I was and wasn’t sparkling eyes tunic on the floor the afternoon wasn’t to become this but there he was and
Comes with tea. Careful the handoff, put to my lip, make a sip, lip and sip and he, he lays down on le lit arm around me shoulder strangling the pillow, finger wandering to my right nipple circling circles, still the same emotion of still the same Cameron.
“Let’s stay naked, our whole existences,” he offers, “As long as we exist, not our life, il est trop physique, but alive and dead; I want to enter Heaven naked and inside of you, then I’ll know nirvana is real.”
What a slick line, still the same Cameron, so slick, always has been that one, good with words, unlike I, Cameron Cameron doesn’t fit in my lexicon; never fall for one good with words, know what and when to say it blueprints and never sincere, shall I compare thee to a summer’s day o Cameron: there. Then expects a response equal in worth but only earnest reply is reticence. Hope he knows I love just the same and hope this tea never goes cold I could sip to my lips his nectar forevermore; how romantic of a word forevermore, he said that once chucking our key over Love Lock Bridge; told once, mother after it, words were invented by men to get women into bed, and a man especially good with words is not to be trusted, and words mean nothing so I should be able to know love by sight touch taste and never folly of words.
I let him. I let him unconsciously as my physicality slowly unhooked my bra and I was just my entity watching my body be torn in half by some stranger like a porno, but I liked it enough that met again the next week, returned to the Notre Dame and had a walkthrough. A mass was occurring at that time, some godlike elderly man garnished in robes with his arms out like he was the one crucified was howling out scriptures at a collection of devote followers and fog rose from this perimeter sinisterly. So taken aback. I told him uncomfortable here can we go I feel like intruders sacrilegious can we go tourists here snap snap snap of cameras prayers simultaneously how wrong sacrilegious. He said they are used to it, and kept gazing at the stained-glass red blue green spotlighting floors and wooden miniatures in glass cases snap snap said if they really cared they would’ve closed the sanctuary to visitors and so utterly snap snap complacent trespassing on holy sermon
He said something. Said what? though. Probably commented on my quietness, nonetheless I am aloud but in my mind not at all. Adjusts his position so his head lays onto my lap, and I pet his hair like a loyal dog, unraveling each curl and watching it twist after, a spindle. I eye his body updown, see his area harden and know it’s going to happen soon, prepare the armada.
Went to Montmartre first time for me, he was so shocked as a French citizen I had never promenaded through the hill of fine art another chapel canvases set up like an army waiting for command march! tiny carousel, location of clue in Amélie searching for the ring ring of payphone. Took me through a street of simply vendors and their art never saw anything quite as lovely bought me de la glace. To think I was right place right time Shakespeare & Co couldn’t remove my eyes from him attached like glue sticks easily hard to separate male vendor approaching us no, Cameron actually, said how’s the Wife doing now my eyes were still on him but not the same eyes as before, said fine, same-ole-same-ole all nonchalantly. how’s the Wife doing. How is she doing, Cameron? the Wife, I meant. Forgot to mention her. Stated yes, Wife, all casually blasé, found a café and ordered two bottled Cokes how’s the Wife doing and he proclaimed he probably should have remarked about his being wed love evaporates vaporlike
This is her bed. I forget often, that I am in said Wife’s bed. A married man’s head is nuzzled into my pelvis, bet he does this with the Wife too.
Mother told me watch out for men like him, daddy and that fiery Frenchgirl why her and I moved all the way from miniscule Corning, New York all the way to Paris, France.
I asked, Why France? She was French.
She told me, I want to see what his fascination was.
gave my mom hell Ariel clapping thunderclaps free and I hated daddy hated that fiery Frenchgirl; now I am that fiery Frenchgirl, hate myself
“Permis-moi à débarrasser ton mug,” he says romance language, taking it from my grip. I was finished with it anyways, just took pleasure in holding something objective. I observe his leaving, and notice he’s now fully naked, the curvature of his back into the plump roundness of his behind like two caramel gazing balls. Soon.
Took me to a sort of concrete peninsula on the bay of the Seine where bunches of hormonal teenagers underage drink and pop caps of liquor parents think cleverly clandestine, can see glimmering apex of Eiffel Tower if I search enough. They met in London, when both were Londoners, she a roving journalist for a travel magazine, he a bartender; and it was just but eight months until they were engaged, will you Yes. Her boss had described an editorial position open in Paris of one of his close acquaintances, Cameron proclaimed her boss only wanted in her pants, but there was an editorial position open in Paris and she jumped at the chance, next thing bags packed across the EU they transferred never once considering him his job he had to leave never once. Love lost how easily love is lost as if love is some item one can misplace. He loves her, he loves me. Something lost is still something real. Love lost for her is still love that hasn’t been rediscovered. Said it all started in Paris that one instance in bed and she climbed right on top of him screwing the cap off. Swallow this big pill. Narcotics. Slip me on a trip. Too good to be true. Told me he felt very lost the day he bumped into me, love lost, lost love and found me instead; I felt so cold, and dirty, shared, pictured her face how you fantasize futures, pretty and better than you deserve. Told me he felt very lost, don’t tell me you’re the lost one when I’m in that strange limbo between lover and stranger. Is there any difference between your truelove and a complete stranger: swallow that pill
Back. I see his back, he’s back, leaps onto the sheets, his frontside virile. I become a mesh of women: his mistress, his Wife, Marilyn Monroe to John F Kennedy, Assia Wevill to Ted Hughes, Camilla Parker Bowles to Prince Charles, that fiery Frenchgirl: I’m so sorry mom.
I hadn’t planned on returning his phonecalls subsequent. I would forget about him absolutely, but can’t remove such an important figure valued heroic savior Messiah can’t unwrite never not ever. So when I came back rendezvous hair down in doorway with his curls tan so exotic, thought about the Stoics and universal causal determinism thought my fate was written out outlined case point and me at his doorway was not of my freewill since freewill is nonexistent so I’m not sin because I have no control of my actions, forgive me Father for I have sinned, however
Slow slow slow go slow; now now now there you go.
I’m a Frenchgirl now in all connotations, wonder what my mother would think. Really like him, mom. Treats me swell. Can hear her. Howl how. Mystery girl. La fille mystérieuse. No different than a silhouette. Not even, too defined. A shadow. Shadow of Wife. Not I, nor him. Wife. Life is but a walking shadow.
Hits the good spot. A moan.
Truelove or a stranger. Truelove/stranger. Sleep next to your man, and never know what he looks asleep. I’ll never marry. Belong to a man. No. Never. Can’t risk it. Truelove/stranger. So many strangers disguise. Man you love Monday kills you Tuesday. Ask yourself. Do I really know him. Favorite color periwinkle but may enjoy grass green summertime and you never knew. Scaleofjustice balance. What you know versus what you don’t. See what weighs. Scaleofjusticeseesawoftruth.
Ruin her life. Homewrecker. Slut, whore. All I am to him in the end. His slut, His whore. Belong to a man. I’m so sorry mom. Women are not things! Allow ourselves to be. Infidelity trait of men innate. Walk all over us stomp stomp. Womenarenotthings. Sound like mom. Climb on top of him. Like Wife. Je comprends maintenant. Take the power back. Take back the night.
His body quivers: incoming ammunition!
Feels so good to be loved. To be wanted. To be absolutely wanted. Accepted by another. Shakespeare & Co. He. I. HeandI. One. Hope this tea never gets cold. To be absolutely wanted.
He’s going to, he’s going to—!
How little I know about him. Truelove/stranger. Thought I loved him. Finds he loves another. Keep that secret what else can you keep. Lies inherent of men. So easy to say a lie to one you love. Love lost loves lost love. Can hear her. How. How can you treat other human beings badly. How can you hurt another human being. How can one lie. How. How does he love me so good. How did I get here.
Plops ragdoll exhausted beside.
Kilometer zero, scene of the chapel across the way, stamp stamp of employee on endless novel, world’s sole truthteller, think yourself special another spine on the shelf, picked and paged and replaced. I’m so small fragile, once suburban New Yorker, now a Frenchgirl; wondered when mom will call, always Friday evenings post-dinner. Brushed being after being all bookworm spectacled intellectuals, so small fragile to even compare, another spine on the shelf, scouring for; where; an eponym without reason; there. All the world’s a stage. Title to titles saccades, fixation , saccades lateral movement, had my copy route to register, where he