Paul Heidelberg
La Casita Blanca
715 B NE 17th Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304
954-763-5722
E-Mail: PAUL@paulheidelberg.net
  Paul Heidelberg
Heidelberg Poetry
Art in Paris 2000
Wines By Pablo
  1. Sacramento Street
  2. i tasted the ocean
  3. Allegro
  4. And So It Is
  5. Winter Blossoms
  6. Of Time And The Rivers Vltava And Salzach
  7. New York: Autumn 2001
  8. This Book of Stevens
  9. Cognac - Paris, 2001
   
 

SACRAMENTO STREET



A flowered curtain
rests
in front of
the street-light.

It's midnight's
witness
to taxi-sounds
and smoldering
cigarettes.
In this quiet
we all
should be loved.
In this quiet
we all
should be friends.

You can count
the foot-steps
between the late-night
pavement
and the beginning
of the ocean,
between the vacant
street-corners
and the roughness
of the kiss
upon the stones,
between the cheap talk
of the alleys
and the lovers
beneath the sand.
   
 

i tasted the ocean



I tasted the ocean
days after floyd
anticipating
saltiness
that bit the tongue --
white-capped life fluid,
balancing ships
anchored offshore,
distant lights in the night
riding out the storm,
the always-black-clouds
finally disappeared,
blown out over
the salty sea.
   
 


ALLEGRO


This music I hovered
over
when I was sixteen
comes again now
as though the
years
had been erased,
or had no meaning;
this symphony is today
the same.

These ears
pick
the sounds
in what different manner now?
And the eyes
that are
baffled by the intertwining plants
see the winds
similarly.

This Sunday is years old.
I find myself in the sun
with the paper
and hours of any time.

The circle
is at times perfect,
and the clean line
of a brilliant edge
unknowingly
continues
eternal
to the chords
of familiar music,
to the patterns
of beginning and end.
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AND SO IT IS


Apples fall
from the untended
tree
that has been
on its own
against
bugs and worms
for years.

The bees
get the apples,
the birds
get the apples,
the weeds
grow high
with heavy rains:
they are over
my head;
they were
before me
and they
will be
long afterwards,
requiring
the strongest
of man's
poisons
to be affected.

Insects
from the weeds
bite
at the skin,
the sky is
winter dark
in August
again.

The thunder
crashes,
an apple
falls,
a far off
bird
in the trees
calls.
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WINTER BLOSSOMS


The corn plant flowers,
smelling of magnolias;
days later its spikes
dwindle
to dusty crimson flakes,
the perfume
broken through the yard --
vanished.

After six years, flowers,
drawing insects still
after they've withered,
their December blooming
a joke that might have been missed
except for the fragrance
of winter blossoms.
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OF TIME AND THE RIVERS VLTAVA AND SALZACH


Long after
we are all gone,
the rivers flow --
music from
snows melting,
fairy lands
as when we were all
children --
brown, not
green,
with the force
of nature.
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NEW YORK: AUTUMN 2001


Up from the ashes
with a toss
from Jeter
coming from nowhere
to save the game
and the season
(the best play ever?),
The Men in Pinstripes
rising from the dust
of buildings and lost lives,
The American Spirit
resurrected
with The Sport of Baseball
and The New York Yankees
and The Miracle at Home.


(October 18, 2001)
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This Book of Stevens


Reading This Book of Stevens
again
after 30 years
presents a new reality
of his reality and non-reality
hidden behind his businessman
facade
that must have been strange,
exceedingly.

I like to hear
Brian,
who can not
speak or hear,
they say,
call my name,
"Paul, Paul,"
very elegantly,
as if he were French.

After these decades,
when I read Stevens'
"Montrachet,"
I now know
"Montrachet,"
and have this precise
image
in my own reality:

Driving narrow streets
last Spring,
I encounter a
tall man --
a villager,
not a tourist --
striding uphill;
on his face:
a huge smile.


(August, 2000)

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COGNAC - PARIS, 2001


Out of that century,
and into this one;
swap milleniums,
as well.

Using this 21st Century implement
in this 11th Century setting,
benches by the river,
a quasi-mad monk's dream
after cognac and Pineau des Charente.

Now begin...




I


The noise of mufflerless motorscooters
ridden by premilitary men
circling, always circling,
the circle of life
as their father's circled
a quarter-century earlier,
in circles, circles,
the circle of life
the young men circle
for the benefit of the
mademoiselles
they pretend to ignore
circles, circles,
the circles of life,
the circles of life
and death,
and what came before
we were,
in circles, circles,
and what will come after
we were
in circles, circles
the circles of life
the circles of life
and death.


The band played the music
as if they were the marchers
in the final scene
of 8 1/2:
do they come from Italia,
or from nearby Espagne,
are they in town for the festival,
or do they live here year-round,
the marching jazz band
keeping perfect time
with drums, trumpets, trombones and tuba,
circling the town,
three songs to a stop,
circling, circling,
the circle of life
and death
and music
and art?


The circle of da Vinci,
kept alive from hand to mouth
his last 10 years
by Francois Premier,
the King on the Horse:
I visited his birthroom
in the castle by the overflowing Charente
five days ago:
light entered the darkened chambre
through tall windows that overlook
a courtyard circled by the
circles of circles
of art and music,
circles of art and music,
circles, circles
of art and music
circles of circles
of granite --
cut from the earth
a half-millenium ago.


The body may ache,
but we play as our sons,
our nose is still in the right places,
the aroma, the stench,
of the circles, the circles
of life, of birth and death,
the circles of circles
of circles of Spring and decay,
the circles of
what became
before we were,
the circles of
what will become
after we were.


I sat at the head of the table
as it were,
as it were
in the time of Francois Premier
in the banquet room
of the chateau of
Francois Premier
monstrous arches romanesque
overhead,
cool white stone
circling the king
and his guests
I became the king,
circled with sips of vin
blanc et rouge,
after cognac neat,
in tall glasses
awaiting soda and orange,
tastes of quail
cooked in vin rouge,
paper thing frommage
with a dollop of fruit
the noise and smoke
of the banquet
warming the chambre by
20 degrees farenheit,
body heat in circles
of circles of guests
circling in time
with the circles of time,
circles of then,
circles of now,
time in circles,
circles under heavy timbers
of stone,
arched for half a millenium,
straining up,
pushing, pushing
plunging upward,
time in circles
of circles,
circles of time,
circles of time,
circles of time
circles of time
in circles,
circles of time
in circles of
now and then.


The festival's final night:
in the banquet hall of the
Art Patron King
Francois Premier,
who emerged from
the moist and warmth
near the moist and warmth
of the Charente, humid and moist
in circles, circles of moist,
timeless warmth of humid
waters, circles of
warmth, circles of the moist waters,
circles with the warmth and the moist
circles with warmth, circles with
the warmth
circles with the warmth,
cirlces with the warmth
of birth.


Circles, circles,
enough of these circles,
and then post-festival,
circularly, in circles of circles
the magical circle appears
magically circling itself:
the mickeymouse merryground
of circles,
the circle supreme
the most miraculous circle,
constructed in the rain at midnight
by men in raincoats
without hats
in the final days
of the six month rain
circling the ville of 20,000
overflowing the Charente;
to this end comes the final
circle of circles
the circle supreme
the never-ending black hole
of all circles,
the most incomprehensible
circle of
circles of art
and life and time
and death and art,
the ultimate circle of circles
the circle most magical:
"FUN 'N' DREAM."



II


Two bats
flew from stone:
black from white
into the night.



III


Home again
for the tenth time
at the Rue de Fleurus
et Rue Madame,
about 500 meters or so
from vingt-sept,
and Stein's lair
where she held her Saturday night soirees;
the Parisian women are more beautiful
than I remembered --
they know "how to carry themselves,"
one guidebook proclaimed --
that's part of it, anyway,
Buster.


The City of Light
is so
full of Light
that I can never read
my laptop screen
at this desk:
so, close the curtains, close the curtains.
That was not the problem in Cognac
with the days of "pluie, pluie,
beaucoup pluie, beaucoup pluie."


Herta emails me
from Salzburg:
"God Bless You
for the ticket.
You do not want to know
how good the concert was."


I know how good it was:
The Berlin Philharmonic,
all Beethoven program, ending with
the Choral Fantasy for Piano, Chorus
and Orchestra.


But I could not make it;
and I may not have begun this,
my art, for Herr Mozart,
who called his sister Horseface,
and for Herr Beethoven,
who kept a smelly chamber pot
under his piano whilst composing.


Ah, the stench of art in progress, Rosita,
he proclaimed in this ville
of art.
They do treat artistes
et ecrivains as they should
be treated
in this city,
even if the overzealous
police make you wonder
at times
about artistic freedom;
what the hell do you want anyway
after passing huge black and white
photos of Apollinaire in the
subway?


In the States such shrines
are reserved
for garish ads, local political
messages
and soulless reflections of
our absence of history.


When I was 18,
wandering the backstreets
of Naples,
I saw two centuries-old statues,
15 feet tall or higher
being used in utilitarian fashion:
between them was tied a clothesline,
from which hung
bras, T-shirts and panties.


I just looked out the window;
as I leaned on the black wrought-iron balcony
looking towards the Luxembourg Gardens,
I saw a beautiful blonde Parisienne
wearing a black leather jacket
and tight black jeans
carrying a two year old
or so
bebe in one arm --
the bebe was wearing a pink hat
and black leather shoes.
In the other arm
the woman carried
a bouquet of dark red roses.
The woman crossed the
Rue de Fleurus,
stopped just before the sidewalk
and kissed the bebe on the mouth
before stepping onto the sidewalk
and walking towards the
Luxembourg Gardens,
walking under the red Tabac sign
before turning left,
out of sight.


I just looked out the window again.
"Hemingway's" horse-chestnut trees
are full with green leaves
and just beginning to show their white flowers.
A woman with jet black hair
walks up the Rue de Fleurus,
walking away from the Gardens,
clutching a newspaper,
turns left onto the rue Madame,
past the Hotel de L'Avinir,
with its same four signs
above second story windows
"HA, HA, HA, HA."


That's easy for you to say,
fortunate and privileged
one --
fortunate and privileged
to be in belle Paris
once again.



IV


Here again in Eglise St. Sulpice,
and I just paid for this privilege --
vingt-cinq francs
for friends in purgatory:
I may have more
than a few
of them,
and certainly
friends-in-purgatory
to be.


Christ on the cross
is laying in sculpture
on the floor
near the church entrance,
surrounded by six candles;
it is Good Friday:
Christ died for all our sins
and Lenny Bruce died for all
you foul-mouthed ones who curse
so casually
to earn
the almighty Buck,
French Franc
or Deutschmark.


I have lit candles
in this church
to those
before they died,
and
after they died;
I do not want to go into that --
let's just say
this is my church.
I have read
Faulkner, Fitzgerald and Hemingway
all attended mass here.
I am surprised they each
attended mass anywhere.


The bells are certainly tolling
for thee,
Ernesto,
they just struck 12 noon
on Good Friday, ami;
I will drink to you
again
tonight
at the Closerie des Lilas
as I have done in the past
in this city of yours and city of all
artistes et ecrivains.



V


This is how this one
ends:
Sitting on a chair
in a guard shack
in the Luxembourg Gardens
on Easter Sunday.
This may look peculiar
-- the ecrivain and the laptop --
but I say
how much more peculiar
than joggers running hatless
in the rain?


"Beaucoup pluie,
en Paris
Beaucoup pluie,"
the Parisienne
said to me minutes ago,
her husband covering
their heads
with an umbrella
as they walked down
the Rue de Fleurus
into the gardens
for their Easter stroll
in the rain.


I am stubborn.
I wanted to end this work
in the Luxembourg Gardens,
and I will end it
in the Luxembourg Gardens
in this little shack:
the sign, illustrated
with a drawing
of a pedestrian
in a high wind, says:
"Avis
Risque de Vent Violent
attention
chutes de Branches."

This may seem like a joke,
but when was it that the
hurricane-strength winds
struck Paris,
toppling trees
in these gardens --
two years ago?

It is raining harder now.
Two gendarmes
walked passed
sans harrassment:
I must be safe.
A young girl
on a bicycle screams
after her brother
rams her with his;
the mother responds
with another scream.
I remember this event
in my life
but it certainly doesn't
seem like
40-odd years ago.


Last night I watched
from my hotel room
as an old couple
walked down the Rue de Fleurus,
step by step,
so tentatively,
they must have been
in their nineties.
This is a museum
and they are an exhibit,
I thought to myself,
they are the timeless march
of time
and only seconds ago,
it would seem,
they were each
the bebe
in the pink hat
being carried by the
mother
I saw days ago.
They are all of us,
walking down the
Rue de Fleurus,
her black-gloved hand
very elegantly around his arm,
out for a walk as if they
were teenagers,
they march for us all,
children talk and scream
in the background
"Papa, Papa,
Papa, Papa,"
crows cry in the gardens
and they walk for us all,
walking, walking
the never ending walk,
the ceaseless walk
of generations,
the promenade of life.




FINI
APRIL 15, 2001 PARIS

NOTE: Written "on location" with laptop computer
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©Copyright 1999-2003 Paul Heidelberg, All Rights Reserved