Red Eiffel Tower
Speaking French with Jodie Foster
under the Eiffel Tower

The Seine is a river just like any other.
The trick is to always be a tourist.
International detectives are scribbling
down notes looking for evidence.
They’ve found one leg of a cut off
conversation. The mime smiles.
Flaps his mime arms like a bird.
The children cry. His gesticulations
scarier than the heavy make up
of a clown. The phone lines are all
jammed. There’s no talking now.
The tourists are getting restless.
It’s beginning to feel like déjà vu,
too much like home. The traffic stops.
The jumper jumps from the Eiffel Tower.
Lovers lock in a twilit kiss. An alien comes
down to take their pictures. The detective says
to the other: ‘By my count, that makes it even.
The number of jumpers is now equal to those
falling in love.’ ‘I’ll see your cause. And raise
you two effects. Ah, but you don’t believe in poker.’
The jumper freezes in midair. The lovers speak
the only French they know. Hoping it doesn’t morph
into a language they already know. A cold street
in New York City. A movie that can’t be edited.
A rattlesnake in the Arizona desert. Something left
out west. ‘Did you hear the one about the German
general who defied Hitler’s orders to destroy Paris?’
‘Hah, if you believe that, I’ve got some fresh organs
straight off the black market.’ ‘Heh. I bet you think
you’re irreplaceable.’ ‘You look like you could use
a brand new heart.’ The aliens come down from much
better planets like Angels with Superior technology.
But that doesn’t stop their need to make a little contact.

©2007 by Ray Sweatman

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