prompt: write a palinode
back a few years ago they installed these garish temporary sculptures at vavin,
the metro stop, fuck if i remember what they were,
and even though the train stopped running around 1, 2, midnight, whenever it stopped,
i found a way to catch the last one home,
i never felt afraid around the homeless in paris,
they weren’t any more harmful than i, gimpy and riddled with TB before it caught us,
maybe even less so, and their worried breaths in deep sleep echoed
before they were drowned for a moment by the trains coming by
it’s an old-school stop, tunnels for miles, enough space to lean and slouch
a la francaise
i saw these two guys bluster downstairs and kick something near them,
i couldn’t hear what it said,
these guys hoisted the lump up by something, i heard a noise, i stayed silent, i waited
for the train to take me home,
a spray and i jolted- lighter fluid?
‘you smell disgusting, old man,’
as he choked,
‘you are filthy, you sick fuck,’
while he begged,
please just let me sleep please just let me sleep
awoken from something of respite
how would i tell this story later on, i wondered?
who would listen to my appropriation of peril?
it was, after all, real fear, wasn’t it?
it was neither
canned, nor synthetic,
sprayed across my face.
i listened until the entire bottle was gone and they kicked him and i wanted to leave, it was like
a bad party, i just wanted to get out before they realized i was still there,
the train came, the light and noise down the path drowned out the commotion.
and i ran, i ran, before i blinked
i saw these two kids bluster down the steps and kick something,
and i ran with my fists up toward them.