we walked among Manet and Degas and Delacroix,

we ran Gucci and Hermes through our fingers,

rode bicycles on the Champs Elysees, and

we wore berets while at rest beneath the Tower

and in a cafe’ at twilight we drank too much wine,

and we laughed in the pink glow of the city

until it was dark, and later, along the Seine,

drops of lamplight shone on the water,

and she spoke of how Paris was like love,

living only for the night, its’ beauty vanishing

by morning, to return only when day again

falls into darkness and to caress only others

--

--

Photo: Allan Dias on Unsplash

“I have nightmares,” Lisa said. “All sorts of nightmares.”

They stopped walking. Lisa looked at him deeply. “Can you fall asleep, Ben? Or do you think? Do you just hate and hate to think like me, like I hate to think? Sometimes I just hate and hate to think. So, then I want to sleep. But I can’t sleep. But sleep is good because I don’t think then. But the dreams, the nightmares. I have nightmares. So, I hate to sleep.”

“What kind of nightmares?”

“The worst. Aren’t all nightmares the worst?”

He pulled her closer.

--

--

She pushed the last button through, her fingers dallying over her heavy wool coat, her hair swept under her collar.
She rapped on the door. Twice.
One hand nestled behind her back, the one holding the bouquet of flowers, the small bunch purchased minutes before from the sidewalk vendor.
Does he even like flowers?
The door swung open. She smiled briefly, her gift coming round.
These are for you.
Her gray eyes flashed with delight as his hand took hold of them.
She dashed from the landing without another word.
Who are you? he called from the railing.
Only the echo of his voice returned from the stairwell, and another smile.

--

--

Photo by Alexander Jawfox on Unsplash

I loved her.

Not in the neon bright light, two a.m. sparkling pavement, uptown New York City way.

No, more in the ice-cold Dos Equis’ beading in the summer dusk sunlight way, and in the way the sound they made when slid across scarred wooden bars.

Or maybe in the way she laughed when her fingers became tangled when she held a pool cue, and the way she didn’t care when she missed the ball completely — and then laughed some more.

But mostly in the way when faced with the choice of cowardice or courage, how she scratched furiously along the page, her thoughts spilling across the white until she rested and read the words she had written.

And when she knew she was no closer to immortality, the way she reached for another page.

In that way.

--

--

Photo by Brad Pearson on Unsplash

high above the river, from the edge of the cliff, one can
see the rafters in their inflated crafts, in the blue and

red and yellow ovals, bright and iridescent and suspended
atop the furious strip of gray as they wend below, lifting,

twisting, careening as the vessels sprout sodden arms that
grip scarred paddles, paddles that swing quick and deep

into the foam only to then be held still and wide to the water,
a thousand rudders to navigate the rocks and avoid the

hard realities that rise in the shallows and are revealed
without warning, some only to scream haplessly like

funhouse monsters, while the others lie dangerously quiet,
unseen under the surface, until at river’s tail oars are

raised in the mirror-like calm, life conquered for the moment

--

--