Montpellier Poem

The blasters have departed, the butts are all swept

now mongrels come to piss in the gullies

near the ring barked cypresses and the kitchen hand

wincing from cigarette smoke.

 

By noon all the boards are chalked

the first stoners sit on the church steps

the first cocktail is sipped, the ladies

aviators peered over and under and through.

 

The waitresses sore heels, her toes curl

when she speaks, bored

her meteorological mind is with the Mistral

the Cevennes, or Wolf Peak.

 

Humidity, hippy’s jamming and insomnia,

another sleepless night, open the window

close the window, cat curls in leg triangle,

thoughts with the love triangle.

 

You enter, like Ulysses knowing your head

and heart won’t handle the intensity,

so you divorce and timeshare the children,

sitting on stools, playing fools.

 

The square was quiet, now full

butts and black dots about our feet

he’s planning his irrational retreat

gold, myrrh, felspar.

 

A couple carrying their mattress

give way to a vespa, give or take,

hole or snake, his loneliness loaded like a syringe.

never going to be with anyone again, this week.

 

Her flingers flick specks of glitter

off her jeans onto polished travertine,

these vagabonds brandishing a partial map

of Montpellier, silently screaming over cake and cream.

 

A skulls worth of dandruff;

the erasure of our perceived mistakes

lying like a floor bound dart

or an island on the horizon.

 

You’ve read too much into her feet pointing your way

in bed reading Finnegan’s Wake

across the train views of a blue lake

that somewhere connects to the sea.

 

Almost all the men in my life are dead to me.

I have made these streets, and the streets have made me.

Day 2: Cycling with Shane Starling: Montpellier

Day 2:

 
At 6:30 am I am woken by cats playing. I lock them in another room but the lock doesn’t work and they squeeze their paw through and pull the door open again. I make coffee, eat cereal, reply to emails, say goodbye to Emma and throw one of the cats into Shane’s room knowing he will wake him so we get on the road. 
 
At 9am I attempt to sort out the front derailer. It’s not pulling to the big ring. The cable housing has more bends than a river. By 10 the gearing is no better so I give up and get dressed. Have to sort it out properly later. Again down the spiral stairs carefully. Pull the big heavy door open like a cat. A thin strip of sunlight is visible in the alley. I stand there and wait for Shane
 
We plan a longer ride today. The gears work ok to begin with but about 15km from base they shit themselves again. Lose the nut in the grass. Find the nut. The bike I’ve borrowed has a triple chainring at the front. A novelty to for me but at the moment a pain. We cycle through a cross country running race. Up ahead cyclists and Wolf Peak. Having been off the bike for 6 weeks my back hurts slightly. My legs have no power. My lungs seem ok. We begin a 3km 5% climb and Shane sets a commendable pace. I drop into the granny gear and enjoy the view. There’s little point overexerting for a few days yet.