Printemps en l’Enfer

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Printemps en l'EnferPrintemps en l’Enfer is a time, a place, a book. It is the Café of all the Cafés I went to where I would smoke my Gauloises sans filtre, read my Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Apollinaire and Sartre.

With little money to spend, I would sit reading or writing poetry, talk to the owners or the regulars, sometimes meet somebody new, order another espresso, and then head home to dinner in the suburbs only to often return downtown to what were my favorite clubs: the Beat, Glace, Vog. I liked the music, the crowd, the ambience.

I would be out most of the week, often staying home Friday or Saturday for semi-philosophical talks with a friend or two.

Of that time, the poems have all been forgotten, except Le Pont Mirabeau, novels and poems all but lost; yet, the curiosity remains, the thirst, hunger and lust to read, write, see, and understand more remain alongside the anxiety that time is never enough; hence, I paint to the exclusion of all else.

Relations are reduced to a minimum, the phone goes largely unanswered, and the idea of hanging out in the local bars holds little interest.

Oh, but I have to work, so the woman on the left with the busy hands seems to say.

Work, produce, study, create, move on without delay, without relenting.

Yes, true, true, true.

On the right, another woman, younger, taller, slim, more elegant, glamorous,  holds an apple. Eve tempting Adam to the pleasures of absinthe – notice her green glass – and other pleasures, friendship, love, conversation, a relationship, a walk in the park, dancing, breakfast at noon.

Our man remains seated, but for how much longer? And yet, he too must write, produce, make something of himself, and not be a mere idler; idler, no, he will be the bon vivant, rush off for alcool and love and… life.

And yet, might it not be possible to sit here, book in hand, finish this poem, and start another novel, be nothing but a reader in a Café called l’Enfer?

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