Connaissance

Paris,
this is the first draft,

the part with everything in between because I haven’t learned to be concise yet and I talk about the bakeries like the name of every pastry is important as if the cigarettes burn slower because I articulate every ashtray in the café

The first draft,

when I describe words because I haven’t learned the right ones yet and my speech lingers with a vocabulary that doesn’t include pain or nightclubs taxicabs or smells not the earthy mud-water of the Seine when I walk home along the quai

The descriptors

because I don’t have another way to say cardboard beds in the street or man playing flute under Pont Neuf with notes echoing back to him like he reinvented the song in the dark under the bridge and I liked the sound

The electricity

that clings in my throat at Parc des Buttes-Chaumont at three in the morning when the lights under the trees draw me into the grass and beer cans but I am hungry for something to whisper to French youth in the dark

The profundity

which I must have lost in a dictionary of pineapples and wood floors Sunday mornings and mopeds but now I am skin and lips and must string water along a verb with beautiful but my gaping mouth creates stammers cracks and misnomers

The first draft

brims I am spilling over I can’t hold it in but it comes out scribbles a long tangle of everything not nuanced and I want to clarify the vowels and taste the precision of a wet Paris street like I am revised

and now I can speak double-spaced,

with particulars and implications.

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