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Vivre Sa Vie, Anna Karina

Matt Parks

Vivre Sa Vie, Anna Karina 

Won't you meet me under Les Champs-Èlysées  

I don't wish to bore you with your familiar Paris anymore 

After all, I've trudged through the catacombs  

Up and down the two hundred and forty -three narrow steps  

to meet the famously forgotten souls 


I've seen the grotesques perched among the cloisters  

and ignored rose windows in search of the bearded Striga and winged Wyverns 

And while one day I wish to return  

It is no longer the cathedral that we knew together 


I've been to the tower where Franc-minded Soufis sell key chain imitations 

of the industrious Titan that all lovers long to see just once 

So I suppose I've done my time 


I can only hope to once more capture your eyes 

Any old fool has seen the tower 

the cathedral, 

the bones, 

and most have even seen you.  


But while many have looked into your blue eyes  

Only a lucky few have caught them in the vibrant cacophonous technicolor of Paris. 


Vivre Sa Vie, Anna Karina 

When you met me under Les Champs-Èlysées 

You arrived with your boorish Belmondo 

After all, he was only in town precisely when I was 

And we never decided Les Champs was only ours to share 


So might we leave for the red city that I once called home? 

Where the taximeters will be turned off and the price is gauged only by your fair skin.  


May I take you to the weathering gate of Doukala? 

Can we listen to the Adhan of Koutoubia 

and face toward Kaaba until the prayer comes to an end 

or until you turn to me and pout that way you do 


Let me take you through Cafés  

To sit with the men who chew their mint leaves 

And suck at their Marlboros 

And forget about those they left at home 

And you might agree that the two of us should do the same 


Yes, I suppose Belmondo would enjoy Marrakech too 

And with my lack of control over French 

I would only drag the two of you behind  

All the while, Belmondo is swindled by vendors 

Who only recognize him as "Mon Ami!"  


But before you leave with him 

Let me take you to Djemma El Fna 

To the festive "Assembly of the Dead"  

Where hopeless monkeys gnaw at the chains around their throats 

And you snatch your purse back from an opportunistic tattoo artist 

Who catches the fleeting careless moment when our guard is down 


And you laugh at the way I hold you close 

As we rub shoulders with vendors, buyers, and pickpockets alike 

Until one seller carving a wooden rook offers me many camels for you 

And you cling to my arm and once more your eyes are mine 

Just for a moment.  


Vivre Sa Vie, Anna Karina.  

Can we just once more meet at Les Champs-Èlysées? 

I truly do wish you and your Belmondo the best 

Though I can long for that which isn't there 

Only you know who deserves to capture those blue eyes. 

Cut from Fall 2022

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