Au Champs-Elysees

Another poem whose narrator eludes me, but whose voice called to me to speak for her.


Dawn marched her corduroy britches into view,
dampening my camera lens just as I snapped a shot of black smoke
serpentine and languishing,
bastardizing the blues.

Dawn shoved carrot sticks into my mouth,
glued incendiary compromises across my shoulders,
ironing on a corset made of loathing and scars.

She marked my face with a green felt pen,
she nicked my neck with a thumbtack,
folding up limb after limb of my reborn skill sets,
all bruise and no brain.

Dawn pushed me into the city streets,
I hugged the pavement under the lamps
and waited for the silence preceding the implosion,
where my name would no longer be my own
and my skin color a dead-end clue.

Dawn pressed to the left and my body moved,
she pressed to the right and my body moved,
ever deeper into the revelers and people-watchers,
the coffee drinkers and portrait makers.

She pushed me deeper into the middle
until I could see only tweed and denim,
and then the silence came.

Au Champs-Elysees, my final resting place,
a full circle now as ever before.

— yiqi 17 november 2015 8:09 am


4 thoughts on “Au Champs-Elysees

  1. Kavitha Rath

    This poem is evocative and gorgeous. It may be possibly be one of my favorites. I love how you take us to Paris with the use of fabrics (corduroy, corset) and people (coffee drinkers, portrait makers). I feel like I am really walking the twilight/night streets. “Incendiary compromises” is gorgeous as is the alliteration of “bruise” and “brain.” You take us to current events in a subtle, but powerful way… with ironies like “implosion.” The use of Dawn as a metaphor with the mythical Elysium Fields is very Homer-esque indeed.

  2. Christopher

    Ce poème me semble comme un rêve.

    Quel aurait pu le déclencher? Les récents événements tragiques à Paris peut-être?

    “……a shot of black smoke…..”, “……incendiary……”, “……scars…..”, “…..nicked….”, “…..limb after limb….”, “….implosion……”, “…..dead-end….”, “…..the silence came…..”, “……final resting place…….”


    1. sittingpugs Post author

      Quel aurait pu le déclencher?

      Originally, it was the image (in my mind) of a photographer suddenly finding herself in the middle of chaos… and then it became more.


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