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Poems On / About PARIS  9/2/2015 7:45:49 AM
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Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud, a French poet, was born Oct.20,1854, in Charleville. His childhood was marred by a 'cantankerous and vindictive' mother and by the discipline of the local school, but his poetic virtuosity was extraordinary. By the age of fifteen he had written verse in imitation of the Romanticists (Vers de College,1932) , and one of his teachers, Izambard, introduced him to contemporary poetry. He was fiercely revolutionary, and wrote the words 'Down with God' on the public benches of Charleville. He ran away from his native town, twice to Paris and once into Belgium, and once he spent 10 days in prison for travelling by train without a ticket. During these escapades, he wrote such poems as Ma Boheme and Le Cabaret vert.
In 1871, in Charleville, he wrote his first prose poems and the Lettres du voyant, and sent to Verlaine a copy of his poem Le Bateau ivre. Verlaine was enthusiastic with the work and encouraged Rimbaud to come to Paris. At this time he had already started the composition of his Illuminations, which was not published until 1886. Verlaine and Rimbaud drifted into an affair. He served in the army of the Commune, and after its fall he went abroad with Verlaine, travelling in England and Belgium. In 1873, in Brussels, he was shot in the wrist by Verlaine, who was condemned to 2 years' imprisonment in the city of Mons for the act. After the incident, Rimbaud wrote a new Illuminations and Une Saison en Enfer.

In november 1893, Rimbaud gave up the writing of poetry and started traveling through Europe on foot. He returned once more to Paris and then disappeared for 16 years. Part of this time he spent in the East, but the greater part was in Ethiopia, where he dealt in contraband firearms, in ivory and gold, and perhaps in slaves. In 1891 he became ill, returned to France to have one leg amputated, and died on November 10 in a Marseille hospital.
Arthur Rimbaud

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The makeup that’s most beautiful is passion,
unchallenged by the pressure of esthetics;
a favorite flavor always, never out of fashion,
it’s natural, and far cheaper than cosmetics,

Elaine Sciolino “A Guide to the French. Handle With Care, ” writes in the NYT, March 22, about her experiences in Paris, where she has been the NYT’s Paris correspondent for five and a half years:
Feeling Sexy Is a State of Mind, or: Buy Good Lingerie
In her close-fitting sweaters and pants and tailored leather jackets, Eliane Victor is both stylish and alluring. The retired author and journalist is in her late 80s. For French women, being sexy has nothing to do with age and everything to do with attitude. Arielle Dombasle, the actress and cabaret singer married to the philosopher Bernard-Henri Lιvy, dared to expose her breasts on the cover of Paris Match and took off her clothes in a song-and-dance revue at Crazy Horse in Paris. Some people feel she tries too hard. But give the lady some credit. She’s turning 50 and has a Barbie-doll body.A 600-page sociological study of sexuality in France released this month concluded that 9 out of 10 women over 50 are sexually active. The sexiest French women seem naturally skilled in the art of moving, smiling and flirting. Chic French women prefer to peel and polish rather than paint their faces. Too much makeup, they say, makes a woman seem older, or worse, “vulgaire.” “The most beautiful makeup for a woman is passion, ” Yves Saint Laurent once said. “But cosmetics are easier to buy.”

gershon hepner

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Accordian In The Metro

In 2002 I was in Paris for a couple of days. My wife & daughter let me loose. They wanted to look at shops & so I left early at dawn to walk around a have a look at that great city.

I got lost & found a few times & had to try out the few French words I could remember from the 3rd form. On the way home at the end of an exhilarating day & I went into the Metro to catch a ride back to the Arch DT which was near our hotel in Victor Hugo ‘street.'

I was walking thru the tunnel & heard an excellent accordion player. He finished playing some French tunes as I was approaching. Then he switched to Bach's Toccata & Fugue in D minor. I stood close to the wall & listen as people hurried past.

A year or so later I saw an SBS documentary on TV called ‘DOWN UNDER PARIS' about Australians in living Paris who were working as buskers or selling their paintings on the street.

I was sitting there engrossed when I heard the accordian player. That sounds familiar I thought, ‘yes that's him. I watched him play, he was excellent, ' & there I was standing close to the wall listening wearing the black jacket I'd bought in Switzerland.

I asked google for the film maker's email & I wrote a note to Richard Snashall asking if I could buy his dvd. I told him that it was me in the background in his movie. I recalled vaguely that there had been someone crouched down with a video camera while I was listening.

When Richard sent me the dvd he said that he thought I was a Parisian on his way home when he filmed me standing there. When I got the dvd it had a note,

‘Hi Lindsay, Here's some bonus raw footage I dug out in addition to Down Under Paris. regards, Richard.
Lindsay Smith

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Don'T Say Paris

No one says Paris anymore.
There's no such thing as Paris, no
Cafι de la Paix, no Titian's Entombment
in the Louvre or Hotel La Sanguin
with amaranth petals on the sheets. Don't

say Paris. When you utter the word
I take off my long red gloves. I prepare
my hands to be stroked. I'm an idiot
that way, a Parisian to the bone. Once,

on some Rue or other, I was not alone.
The city, blue. My black coat opened
and gave birth to my body as I walked.
You dare speak of Paris? You unlatch

the door in the cage, that word comes
blooming out, orange feathers ignite
the room. My room the color of sage

in fog. And now, Paris, breaking
the mirrors, exposing the cobbled
alleyways behind them. Who says
Paris? Now I swirl my nipples

with Le Rouge Baiser. Or did you
mean Paris, Kentucky? Or just Paris
a word tossed off like an exploding peony
dropped from the swaying top of that tall

steel tower? Paris, a bitter word,
a word to be spit into a lace handkerchief
like the pit of some pink-fleshed fruit,
stolen from the garden of the rich, in whose

sweetness a woman like me can drown.
Paris, where I loved and suffered, where
the enemy flag opened and flared, poppy
with a spider inside. Liberation, another

suspicious bit of language, a perfumed
envelope holding no letter. Paris, you say.
I have shut down the Office de Tourisme,
covered the windows with flowering vines,

casting those rooms in purple light.
I have wrapped my lips around that word
until it throbbed like Bouguereau's
La Madone aux Roses.
Diane Seuss

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Poems On / About PARIS