A man I knew once for a short time...
The last time I saw him was in Paris,
With the Eiffel Tower soaring behind us
And the Seine on the other side.
An hour, at least, we sat there.
He ordered a fine, French wine
And urged me, "Sens le bouquet."
The mellow of it sweetened my mood,
As did the black-iron chairs
and the city parade.
But the café was full of tourists,
Sightseers from Omaha.
I remember Raul’s compliment --
How I was pleasingly different,
So unlike the other coarse folk
Who gushed and jabbered,
Spreading dollars on French culture
For the sophistication
Americans all lacked.
Oh, how he waved his cloth napkin,
With that almost effeminate disdain,
Inhaling cigarettes as he spoke
Inside a cloud of trés French smoke.
As the night settled its wings,
I sipped the strong, red wine
And took pleasure in the foreignness:
The wide gestures, the accents,
The fact that I was in Paris.
We left when Raul urged,
Still discussing my country
As he cloaked me with an arm.
Then he paused so he could jeer
At the “Hollywood” of my dress,
The new one I’d purchased just for the trip.
In minutes we arrived at the Eiffel.
I looked up at history
And took my many pictures.
Then I left Raul to his Frenchness
And went home to drink
My good, old California wine.