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Poet of Impossible Love
by David Matthews


On the sidewalk outside a certain fin

de siècle café, whose tables are taken

By stylish idlers, the randomly chic,

There might from time to time be seen

A young woman of quiet intensity,

In rough attire, jeans worn with patch and fade,

A corduroy jacket, sweater, crouched,

Light brown hair cascading her pale, rapt face.

She draws pastel portraits on the sidewalk

Of the ones doomed to be ravaged by love,

Isabelle Adjani as Adele H.,

Jean-Louis Barrault as Baptiste the mime,

Young Isadora Duncan as herself.


Some few of those who pass drop coins into

The red beret that lies beside her black

Portfolio, with her sketchbook and her

Pencils. Most, though, grip tightly precious bags

And briefcases and pass with lowered eyes,

As if her presence, her being herself,

The vision she renders corporeal,

Lies so outside the ken of their thinking

And stands so hard against their subjection

To meaningless work and the ownership

Of things as to make eerie the world where

They once were at ease and unsettle their

Sleep at night.


I drain my cup, pay my check,

So that I might follow this poet

Of impossible love when she moves on.

Without a word she beckons me to that

Uncanny world where one might live for art,

A fair transport so open to us all.



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