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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Making positive use of a double-negative on Bastille Day

He couldn't
not take off
the backward cap
that hides
his tousled hair
as he pulls back
the high-backed stool
he'll perch himself on
next to
this unfamiliar beauty.
He couldn't
not accept the bourbon
shot, a pert bartender
offers to keep
his pint company
and lend him
extra courage.
He couldn't
not exchange
an inquiring smile
then a glib remark
about the heat
and the sudden
appeal of dank taverns.
He could
watch her
small gestures for hours
and never
lose interest.
The way
alabaster fingers
tease auburn hair,
they pull at his longing
for a moment
they'll land to still
his right hand
nervously tapping
so useless against
the emptied glass.
He couldn't
guess where
it all might lead,
but he couldn't
not take the chance
it might,
somewhere.
Her accent
sounds French,
and it is Bastille Day.
Anything's possible,
n'est-ce pas?


It's Bastille Day, and the Poetry On Wednesday prompt this week gets us in the proper spirit by suggesting a sprinkling of French and some mimicry of the poet Jacques Prevert. My piece is more Francophile than French, but I did retain enough from my high school studies of the language to understand Prevert's Desjeuner du Matin in the original (with a little help from the translation).
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