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Pol Pot in Paris

Oh happy child, kindly teacher – were you a fake?
Like you I'm taciturn
but when I give an order who's to hear?
Paris, I found it cold but didn't read very much.
No one knows what you thought of its weather,
the river, the churches or the metro.
You preferred a book on the Soviets to girls in Montmartre.
I too would rather recite Verlaine
than take notes on electronics.
If I had a history and traditions, I don't remember.
Would you understand me?
I too lived on an allowance
of uncomfortable epithets
cobbled from Buddha and Marx:
"Physical beauty is an obstacle to the will to struggle."

Late nights drinking weren't your thing.
Sweet words of girls “mask evil hearts”.
A fun holiday on a tractor in Belgrade.
“The wheels of revolution never stop, roll on
to crush all who dare to walk in its path.”
We could have been lifetime friends, together
rooting out evil, picking mushrooms,
sipping coffee in the Latin Quarter,
mediocre, polite, soft spoken
migrants meandering in overcoats.

The others marry French girls, you join a work brigade
digging ditches in Zagreb.
In the 15th arrondissement, Rue Latellier
mid-winter, dog shit everywhere.
On the river it’s 20 francs
for La Grande Revolution Française.
We could’ve talked, taken notes for a memoir:
did you join the party before or after the festival
in East Berlin? Did you buy that shirt
before or after the coup d'état?

In Marseille you boarded the Jamaique.
Your tiny shadow cast a conspiracy
of epic dimensions, and there, in the oily backwash
and the silver wake, a complete solution.
I too went home, dreaming of a family
I would never have, and the one I would.

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  • Pol Pot in Paris