The Gioconda To see Mona Lisa, real fans don’t trot off to the world’s end, no not even to the Louvre They go where Rue de La Rochefoucauld crosses Rue Notre- Dame-de-Lorette, they step into the café and there she is The painting’s on the wall in beige and cream the frame beige-cream plus a touch of orange the canvas signed in the artist’s own hand E. Mérou. It’s Mona all right the Mona Lisa of Mérou. Emile Mérou? Eugene Mérou? Ernest Mérou? could be Emily, Eugenia, Ernestine? who knows? Behind her well washed glass Mona Lisa looks content she looks at me she smiles without the littlest condescent without an atom of mystery all placid calm a beauty Well whatchexpect?—it’s Mona Lisa! Real fans don’t trot off to world’s-end or the Select-Bar at the Rotonde or deep into the jungle nor to the islands of the Sonde nor to Peru but from the Sacré Coeur it’s just a few steps, Mona Lisa’s on view Mona Lisa, Lisa Mona, Mona Lisa by Mérou So let’s give a-one and a-two for Lisa, the MonamonalisabyMérou!
Sacré-Coeur! Sacré-Coeur! O I see you Babybottle with your big tit in the shape of the cross Sacré-Coeur! but you’re seven babybottles! I see you all perfectly from down the hill in Square Saint-Pierre three little babybottles three medium babybottles and one big fat one It’s evening the glorious sky scoots over so the angels can come and suck at three little babybottles three middling babybottles But you big babybottle you are for Baby Jesus ah! may he not bruise his lips on your cross-shaped tit
Under the arcades in Rue de Vaugirard, between Rue Garancière and Rue Férou, one reads:
The National Convention, in order to encourage use of the metric system, had sixteen standard meters (in marble) placed in the busiest spots of Paris.
The meters were installed between February 1796 and December 1797. This is one of the last 2 in Paris and the only one still in its original place.
time has passed, old friend since we first met I was twelve and you one hundred forty-eight it was winter nineteen hundred forty-four it was cold the fountains in the Luxembourg were frozen the statue population shivering asses of the lady statues all white with white frost on white marble (where it wasn’t green) and so cold I stretched out on the ground to be parallel to you to measure myself against an exact measure much more conclusive than the tapes or metersticks or strings my father used to check how my brothers my sister and I were growing if not visible to the eye visible at least by lines penciled month after month on the kitchen door frame I trusted you I trusted the Convention that had placed you and your fifteen siblings at various spots in Paris so that citizens would get used to contemplating the ten-millionth part of a quarter of the earth’s meridian I never believed in the platinum-iridium prototype in some building in Breteuil even less the absurd story of wavelength but I believed in you now I’m old I’ve grown stopped growing begun to ungrow and that’s only the beginning before it all ends with a notable absence of all measurement but you I’d say you haven’t changed you haven’t budged an inch if I dare use this term barely some expansion and contraction from unavoidable heat-and-cold because of nights days seasons for me you’ve stayed the same dignified, thin, tense, straight, calibrated in decimeters, between your two tips topped by your family name, METER, by your Convention hat, impassive, horizontal spring nineteen hundred ninety- four I’m here to visit you as from time to time when I happen to be in the area you won’t mind if I don’t lie on the ground this time at your feet which aren’t feet people in the street might find it bizarre for a gentleman of my age even in front of the Luxembourg Palace where the senators of the Fifth Republic doze this might seem an ill-measured action
Impasse de Nevers né, nay, nay, nell, nay, né on, neon, nor on, need, neo, new, n’you, knee you, nu, nuance, nuke, navy, navel, no well, no, no, no way, now, now, no, nay, nay, nudge, nude, nub, nubile, numb, neume not may, not my, mai, may, moo, menial, nil, nemial, nay may, nave, name, no aim, noon, nose, nosegay, nude, neu, neuter, nog, noggin, nous, new, mew, mew, meeow, minion, minime, nimbus, nimble, nimmer, ni meurt, number, nummer, mummer, moon, no on, noon, no, nay, nouveau, nova, n’eve, ne, nev, neve, never, never
A Bit of Sociology 158 saints, 33 female saints, popes, 8 cardinals, 11 abbots, 3 abbesses, 1 canoness, 1 rector, priests, preachers, Capuchins & Carmelites, Celestines, Recollects Ursulines, Franciscans, 1 commander-in-chief, princes, 3 dauphins, 1 princess, 6 counts, 1 countess, knights, squires, 1 Lord, 4 presidents, 8 marshals, 64 generals, at least 14 colonels, 2 lieutenant- colonels, 3 commandants, 8 captains, 4 lieutenants, 4 sergeant-majors, 1 corporal, crossbowmen, admirals, 1 agent, plus 3 judges, 1 banker, entrepreneurs, goldsmiths, 1 single slave trader, at least 41 doctors, shepherds — & two shepherdesses, bons vivants, 2 butchers, bakers, coal merchants, hunters, lime-burners, vinegar-makers, 1 crêpe-maker, 1 cooper, dockers, 1 mailman, 2 mowers,1 falconer, farmers, landscapers, 1 glazier, gardeners, sailors, fiddlers, millers, fish-dealers, 1 haymaker, 1 potter, 4 professors, painters, poets, curious, very curious, this distribution of the population in the streets of Paris
Counting Out Rhyme for the Year (Two) Thousand To Paul Braffort Impasse of the TWO angels Street of the THREE sisters Street of the FOUR sons Street of the FIVE diamond cutters Street of the SEVEN acres Street of May EIGHT 1945 Square of June EIGHTEEN 1940 Square of August TWENTY-FIVE 1944 Street of July TWENTY-NINE Square of June Eighteen 1940 Square of August Twenty-five 1944 Street of May Eight 1945 Paris, Paris, your city fathers can’t count to 2000
Rainbow it’s raining it stops raining it’s nice the sun’s shining you can see on Rue VIOLET on Rue BLEUE on Rue du Chemin-VERT on Place du Château-ROUGE a rainbow full of holes
Calculation The Impasse du BOEUF is in the IVth in the Vth the Impasse des BOEUFS goes from the singular ox to the plural as we go up one arrondissement but Avenue DU BOIS is in the XVIth and it’s in the XIXth we find Rue DES BOIS with wood we jump three arrondissments why?
Plesent Streets berber berets in berger street! bergs & berms in bergère street! beer in des bergers street! Celts & cells in cels street! cement cepes in cépré street! checkered cheeks in chevert street! clement in clément street! clerks in cler street! credes & credence in crèche street! crests in cretet street! delete delbet street! descend desgenettes street! desert desprez street! drench dresses in drevet street! ebony in ebelmen street! &eblé street! elder eels in de l’échelle street! ere ergs err in ernest-lefèvre street! esteemed in de l’est street! Esther’s in d’estrées street! ether ettle in etex street! events ever even in des évettes street! fennel ferments des fêtes street! freckles frequent fresnel street! germs in gerbert street! jests in gervex street! green grebe greed in de grenelle street! greek greegrees in grenet street! Hellenes hellbent in hélène street! then henpecked in henner street! Hermes in hermel street! hertz in herschel street! & de hesse street! jennets jet in jenner street! kelp keeps well keller street! kestrels in kepler street! these lecterns in leclerc street! get left in lefebre street! these legends in legendre street! the length of leneveux street! these lepers in leredde street! these lesser letters of de lesseps street! these level leverets of levert street! the messes of de metz street! the meter of meyerbeer street! the nerve! de nesle street! nevertheless, de nevers street! pecked peclet street! peeled pêle-mêle pelée street! perched pernelle street! perfected perrée street! petted petel street! petrels in petrel street! presence preserves de presles street! the rents in de rennes street! eh! serpents in serpente street! eh! serene in serret street! eh! severe seven in seveste street! eh! terns in des ternes street! eh! theme: thérèse street! eh! verbs in verderet street! eh! Verner’s in vernet street! weekends in weber street! & de l’yvette street! eh!
Licence Portrait of Paris 1992 February, Rue Soufflot 903 JTJ 75 29/04 48 JWW " Rue Clément-Marot 253 JWX 05/05 Rue de Parme 848 JWX 06/05 Opéra 485 JWX 07/05 Rue de Douai 311 JXJ 13/05 Rue de Clichy 688 JXJ 16/05 Trinité 336 JXK 17/05 Franklin-Roosevelt 182 JXM 04/06 Rue Marx-Dormoy 479 JXY 06/06 Saint-Lazare 362 JXZ " Rue du Havre 730 JYF 15/06 Rue de Clichy 407 JYX 04/07 ? 653 JZC 12/07 ? 219 JZF 16/07 Trinité 851 JZG 17/07 Bd. Saint-Martin 754 JZM 19/07 Beaubourg 571 JZP 20/07 Place de l’Europe 867 JZR 10/08 Champs-Élysées 939 JZR 11/08 Gare de Lyon 146 JZW 13/08 Pont Royal 263 KAF 09/08 Rue Lepic 4165 WK 75
Ah! Ah! what silence In Rue de Valence! But what alarm In Rue de Parme! Calm ah! how calm In Rue des Palmes Such agitation on Rue Brancion Ah! how serene Is the Rue de Seine! But what disquietude Boulevard de Dixmude! Ah! trouble stem to stern Along Avenue de Ternes For ultimate rest Rue Gît-le-Coeur’s still best. Ah!
Rue d’Amsterdam Rue d’Amsterdam goes down goes up Goes up and down it does, my street I go up or go down Rue d’Amsterdam Go down go up my Amsterdam Street We say we go up say we go down Streets that go up and streets going down Say it even of hesitant streets Or streets on absolutely level ground We go up streets on the macadam Walk on the sidewalk down the street So I go down my Rue d’Amsterdam So I climb my Amsterdam Street What is it goes down and what goes up Goes down or not in every street? Is it the houses that go up and up Or falling fall toward the bottom of the street? It’s the houses, they go by number The one on the door that faces the street If the street goes down so do the numbers And if the numbers go up so does the street But why do we say that numbers go up Climbing from naught to infinite height? Because numbers form a street of numbers The street of whole numbers outdistancing night Long indeed the high road of numbers The high abstract road, no end to that way You go up you go down you count and recount The world-long night where all numbers are gray But maybe our streets are just shadows Shadows of numbers that fall in the rain Remnants and ends of the street of numbers Going up going down while our lives remain