50 rue des Francs-Bourgeois: by Liliane Richman

Mr. Soulié made pommes frites twice a day

in a kitchen full of books that overtook his flat

gathered on tables shelves and dressers

on fine furniture with pearly inlay

My brother was friendly with the literary gentleman

who confided he’d written a famous book

for a well-known West African writer

Then adopted a son

Kelefa Keita who came from Conakry Guinea

with a whole collection of African art

masks and gourds and staffs and wooden sculptures

ornate with bone and shells

You need to clean these things they give you asthma

all that dust old books yellowed paper remonstrated

my unimpressed mother who rang his bell

for conversation on her way up to our flat

But Monsieur Soulié laughed wide mouthed and ah ah  ah

until he choked three full minutes and laboriously began

breathing again while my mother fretted – Didn’t I tell you? –

And then he  recovered and began ah ah ah again






To find more poetry by Liliane Richman on this blog, click HERE.

~ by bonniemcclellan on February 3, 2015.

7 Responses to “50 rue des Francs-Bourgeois: by Liliane Richman”

  1. I love it: a perfectly created miniature world!

  2. Reblogged this on The poetry:prose/prose:poetry converter and commented:
    The 2015 International Poetry Month is now underway on Bonnie McClellan’s blog. This, on Day 3, is today’s posting – to be followed each day by a different writer from a variety of countries (my offering to be included). The Month makes interesting reading each year; I recommend it.

  3. What a wonderful poem. May you breathe in the dust of old books until wisdom suffuses the atmosphere and makes the world’s masks dance with their African eyes.

  4. Beautiful, evocative work. The broken laughter is as much an artifact of the past as the old books and African masks.

  5. I can hear that rich, wheezing laughter echoing down the narrow hall!

  6. Mr. Soulié seems like a man of irrepressible good cheer. A strong and sturdy pillar, so to speak.

  7. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose….

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