Mixed Signals

by

I don’t want to tell the Universe what to do.

Yes I do, who the fuck am I kidding?

I want to stay here and I am putting it out there, keep me here, will ya?

Of course, I don’t know how, and I am willing to do what needs be done.

The question is, what needs be done?

I don’t know.

John Ater told me last night, we had a successful Skype session, that I was never going to know, knowing is not a part of the story, never was, never was going to be.

He told me a story about surrender and it resonated with me.

I gave up on Friday.

I had a lovely relaxed day on Saturday.

I took the bit back in my mouth yesterday, tried to figure it out, banged myself around a bit, gave up again, said, what ever, and went to bed early.

I got up today went the way I had to go to get the crazies out of the tree branches and had nine people say, “stay” and one person say, “go.”

The stays are winning it for me, of course, but how?

I am not arguing for my limitations, which John helpfully pointed out I was doing and I got a few interesting e-mails today.  One from the English department at the American University.  The gentleman in question said staying in the country is not too hard, go to London and get your passport stamped.

Been there, done that.

Working papers, that is another thing entirely.

However, he invited me to swing by for office hours and I am going to do that next week.

I also went out and did a little open mic action at Le Chat Noir tonight, taking it upon myself to continue carving out a life for myself here.  I also believe it is good practice for me to go, as I find myself more prone to working on my poetry and that is important to me.

It may not be important to anyone else, but as a poet before I was a memoirist or a blogger, it is my first love.

Tonight the thematic was “navigation”.

My poems were on the navigation of Eros.

“Well played,” she said leaning into me as I sat back down, shaky, and hot-headed.

“Thanks,” I said, and leaned into the wall.

I was the last performer of the first round, I actually got there before all the spots were filled in.  I also realized that depending on who you are and what you want from the open mic, the people performing ask to be put into certain rounds.

My first time there I was late, busy getting lost, and I was the second to last person to perform.

Last week, I was late again, babysitting gig in Asniers-Sur-Seine, third to last person this go round.

“Are you performing tonight,” the girl with the blonde bob asked me as I passed her in the bar of Le Chat Noir.

“Yes, I am,” I said, “Helen?”

“Yes!  You remembered my name, you are amazing, I missed you last week, I had to go, it was too late.”

“I will be the last person in the first round,” I said.

“Good, I look forward to hearing you,” she smiled and pushed up to the bar.

I went down the wood stair case into the basement and stuck myself in the corner.  I was better prepared tonight as well, I brought my own bottle of Badoit.  Not going to drop 3.50 Euro on a small bottle of Perrier when I can get a bottle of bubbles at Carrefour for less than half that.

My voice felt good.

I felt nervous, but I always feel nervous.

The poems were well received, or so it felt, and I remembered to breathe, pause, slow down when I wanted to go fast, to say the words, to alter the pace, to emphasize the click clack of alliteration.  I like to alliterate and do internal rhyme scheme.

Just my schtick.

I filled up another notebook this morning and realized I have a small journal that is full as well, which makes four full up journals since my arrival.

I just remembered, I must get myself a glue stick, one of the ways I remember is to paste little items in my notebooks of my journeys.  The notebook I finished this morning has the ticket stub from the Dali Museum, my backstage bracelet to the Social Club from Friday nights club outing, a walking guide of the Jardin des Plantes, a Carmen Miranda sticker (my girl Jennifer sent me a sheet of Carmen Miranda stickers from Flax in San Francisco), the top of the Lauderee tea canister–mint green paper with a gold leaf cupid on it–I pulled off the label, and the open mic flyer from last weeks performance.

I can open any of those journals and not only re-read what my experiences where during the time I was doing the writing, but I can just look at my scrapbook souvenirs and see it just as well.

I don’t know how many more notebooks I will get to fill.

But, hey Universe, I would love to fill a few more.

I do surrender to not knowing.

I do.

I also surrender to the fact that I want what I want.

I may not get it, the longing for the fantasy has been greatly offset by the realities of living here.  The reality of living here is that it is hard.

Hard,hard, hard, but I don’t have a regret.

Not a one.

I won.

I am winning.

The Paris experiment.

The Paris experience.

This is a win/win.

I get to see it all about me, in the words I write, in the poems I speak, in the wet pavements I slide on down on my way to the Metro, in the photographs I take, stopping in the rain to juggle my glasses and umbrella and messenger bag.

Door Way

Door Way

Metro Couronnes

Couronnes Metro

“Stay,” he said, busking my cheeks with kisses.

I would like to.

What do you say, Universe?

I await your direction.

 

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