Strange Chinese Hat

reminiscence poem

Poem

 

There is Pâquerette in sepia toned
photographs like a ghost in strange
Chinese hat and shimmering dark
dress. She sits beside Pablo in the
old cafe on boulevard Raspail.
Their knees nudge coyly under the
wood top, their secret tryst. Jean
Cocteau is there with his hawk’s eye,
his secret lust and he snaps the picture
on his old Rolleiflex that was not old
then but is ancient now. Pâquerette
came after Eva and Fernande but
before Dora and Françoise and
Jacqueline, the last. They were happy
then and even as the war raged a few
miles away they wasted their days
on the terraces overlooking the grand
boulevards sipping cognacs and eating
escargot drenched in garlic and butter.
Pâquerette was content in the company
men who avoided the great-not-so-great
war, the industrial meat grinder. There
was Moise with his bowl cut and torn
trousers, Max with his bald pate and
confused allegiances, Amedeo and his
absinthe, Chaim, who followed like a
hungry dog, Gertrude and her mannish
ways, Alice with her hawk’s beak and
heavy mustache. they were the artists,
poets, dancers, artist’s models, Poles, Jews,
homosexuals, and consumptives. She will be
gone in six months like Lady Ashley. but for
one day, she is there among the giants,
with her strange Chinese hat.

 

more by SERGIO REMON ALVAREZ

photograph by Gudbjörn Valgeirsson

 

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Sergio Remon Alvarez

Born in Madrid Sergio moved to New York City at a young age. He studied playwriting under Karl Friedman and theater at Purchase College. After college, Sergio moved to Alta, Utah where he was a dish washer, waiter, handyman, ski repairman, firefighter and free-skier. Upon his return to New York City, Sergio has alternately been a bookseller, boxer, painter, translator, graphic artist, jazz musician, and writer. He studied creative writing at Gotham Writer's Workshop, the Unterberg Center for Poetry, the St Marks Poetry Project, and New York University. He currently splits his time living in New York and Madrid. He runs with the bulls in Pamplona.

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