The saleswoman in the BHV matches powder
against my skin. It is, she assures me,
goldy. Then she frowns and rouges my cheeks
because in Paris we highlight.
Highlighted and powdered I cross the Seine
to hear american poetry
and take fashion notes.
The last is unofficial but I love
how people wear their poetry –
think, the young english girl
with long plaits chose blue leggings
to wear under her purple coat and I know
that she made the felt bee on her lapel.
You can always tell the transient
americans by their high-tech joggers.
French lipstick is why everyone air kisses and the men -
crumpled linen suits exuding poetic fatigue –
take polished steps right into heartbreak hotel.
There’s one red beret, an abundance of pre-raph blondes
and a perky cloche. I’m confident no-one else notices
but the BHV saleswoman would be on my side:
The poetry is fine, I like the one about Che,
but look at your jacket - that asymmetrical zip!
I drag her away before her fingers walk down those teeth.
She stops to highlight two wistful blondes.
Soon she will be declaiming poetry – yes
She climbs on to a concrete column
without a wobble of her stilettos
and declaims a simple list of colours
sending them like a magicians’ doves
into the heavy night air.
In Paris we highlight!
Catherine Bateson, June 2013
After you've stopped here for some sartorial poetry, hop across to the Tuesday Poem Blog by clicking here. Jennifer Compton and I must have been on some strange common wavelength when we started our respective poems - although hers took a completely different turn. Have a lyrical week!