Eric LaPrade

Everywhere in Paris

Street signs on the sides of buildings
Remind me history is as close as
Someone smoking a cigarette, eating
A baguette, or walking three dogs on the sidewalk,
But at eight-thirty in the morning
I don’t care.  I order a second
Cappuccino and read an e-mail
From someone who writes, “You should
Go to a famous café, take out a notebook and pen,
And see what happens.”
So far, nothing has happened,
Except the crumbs from my croissant
Are staining the pages of my notebook,
And a woman with a large leather bag
Has taken off her coat and sat down next to me.
Le Hibou isn’t famous like The Ritz, The Dome,
Or Café de Flore, where tourists now sit at those
Still famous tables.
But I like this café better as I write
My fabled, Paris history on a postcard to
A friend in New Jersey:
“I have discovered a place to hang out,
And on my second day here
I have a date tonight.”

In Springs

I
On Gerard Point Road,
Seagulls leave clams and mollusks
On the road and wait for passing cars
To drive over and crush them.
They take the pieces to the roadside
And noisily eat them.

II
Jackson Pollock’s favorite bar Jungle Pete,
Is now The Springs Tavern. Over a beer,
The bartender told me
Pollock died near-by. I ask him,
“Where’s the road?”
He replied, “That’s what Pollock said.”

III
Burlap bags are wrapped around shrubs
To keep the deer from eating them in the winter.
The water table is rising and soon the wells
Will have salt water in them and the roads will flood.
Next year a ban on leaf blowers begins;
Back to using rakes.

IV
At a book sale for The Ladies Village Improvement Society
Of East Hampton, I find a book as a sales woman organizes
A shelf and tells me, “We’re redoing nature.”

Eric LaPrade's next book is forthcoming from LAST WORD BOOKS, 2020. His writing has appeared in ArtCritical, NewsWhistle, The Outlaw Bible of American Essays, and Art in America. LaPrade earned his B.A. and M.A. from City College.