First Poem in Paris

The poet has writer's block
and marvels at the sculptor
who molds clay, chisels stone,
polishes marble on and on.

He asks for advice and is
told to go to the carnival—
"Mingle with the crowd, ride
the carousel with children,

soak up the autumnal air
so your poem will flow out."
He's soon there amidst kids,
red balloons, cotton candy,

a torn charcoal sketch
sweeps by his feet catching
his eyes and organ-grinding
music leads him to a cage—

she's drawing on a sketchpad
the beast pacing behind bars.
Her sparkly cat brooch and
sweet aroma draws him near

as she crumples another sheet
and tosses it to a trash bin.
"Oh, I've been doing a lot of
that too!" he confides in her.

He's German, she's Serb—
the dark energy swirling
before them makes him write
not of her but the dance

of power around a point
where a mighty will is numbed.
She invites him up for tea
but he does not hear her—

all his senses drawn to
the bars and behind the bars
thousands of bars to endless night
prowling back and forth trapped

in this black world that must die
to a fresh image striking his eye—
and that's how his first poem in
Paris "The Panther" was born.

   — Peter Y. Chou
     Mountain View, 2-14-2007

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© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (2-14-2007)