July 2012

One giant consumer nightmare,

One immense tourist trap,

One magnificent collection of museums,

       The city a museum, for all practical purposes,

             with endless costs: a capitalist paradise.

A place of a million trains and buses,

      coordinated, to run on-time, through

            an infinity of tour guides,

         and exquisite boutique shops for wealthy women,

               to prostitute their gorgeous ignorance,

                  to their lives of lavish infinite emptiness.

And a place where only a few,

      seem conscious of the planetary threat,

           and struggle against the unconsciousness

                of the many.

Yet the people of France,

      unlike those of the US,

talk critically of their leaders,

      revering their rebels and critics.

            of yesterday and today.

Everyone knows of Albert Camus,

Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir.

To them it is an on-going tradition,

      in which artists, critics, and rebels

             are as much at home,

                    as the rich, the powerful, and the corrupt.

As we stroll through pleasant, tree-lined parks,

we encounter plaques–

      “Here is a collection point, for this district,

        where Jews were deported to the camps.”

Is this the ultimate sense of fairness and accommodation?

        or is it the consummate bourgeois cooperation?

Rebel and Landlord equally revered–

       the good, the bad, and the ugly,

writhe apart, and blend together,

       within the endless configurations,

              standing like an awkward Eiffel Tower

                     against this surreal Parisian skyline.

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