And I was lonely in the small moldy room
Off Poison Boulevard and the Cité Bergére.
“Give me back my joy,” I whispered one day,
Addressing the presiding god above the city of lights,
Grey in the humid mid-afternoon,
Throbbing with self-contained purpose,
Silent at the edges of its great expanse.
Give me back my joy, but I felt nothing –
Nothing, between the walls of Notre Dame
Where the swarming tourists ate into the vast space of sanctity.
Nothing, when at night the windows could only barely muffle
The raging drunks in the street below,
Smashing god knows what, their women screaming, why.
In the afternoon the cars were droning
And the air was thrumming with humidity.
My clothes soaked in the bathtub
And I thought about being displaced.
Ah, but I did not wish you were there –
You could not have made me better,
Even when I longed for you as if you would.
There could only have been the sick apathy
Of waking up and knowing nothing has changed.
I felt my exile, lost in the city of lights,
Waiting for the homecoming and familiarity
That soothes, and forgets.