I was going through some old writing from when I was backpacking around Europe, and stumbled onto this, which I wrote on the penultimate day of my trip. I’m surprised how much I still like it, especially since it was done in haste, without much reflection, and probably too much wine. I remember my time in France as one of learning about Impressionism, reading Apollinaire and Sartre, and trying new cheeses every day, among other things. Je t’aime, France.


Impression: 20th Arrondissement


Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure

Les jours s’en vont je demeure



Old flat on the 6th floor over Ménilmontant

in the gray blanket of August, I, a flâneur,

retired to the opiate of terrible coffee

and careless snowfall of cigarette ash.


Tomorrow I leave Paris

but the days here remain.


Below is the slurp of wet pavement,

a forum of used electronics and troquets

where barkeeps smoke on porch steps.

Spits of dönor revolve in window panes.


Tomorrow I leave Paris

but the days here remain.


An urchin barks at his broken shadow,

chases his voice up and down the street.

In the opposite loft a student warms her piano,

scaling the keys in a roundelay.


Tomorrow I leave Paris

but the days here remain.


A mutual consciousness supplants chaos

channeled between ravines of brick façades

And the organized gaze of a hundred

symmetrical, blank windows.


Tomorrow I leave Paris

but the days here remain.


These floorboards creak like they were gossiping.

Empty wine bottles spell out the countryside.

Fronton. Bordeaux. Côtes du Rhône.

The fruitbowl is aging with flies.

R. Charboneau


Artwork: Manet – The Rue Monsier with Flags (1878)

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