toujours à bout de souffle


(breathless again – for Jean Seberg)

on the screen it looks so easy:
steal a car
American with a gun under the dash
get chased by motorcycle cops
shoot one down
take it on the lam à Paris
so easy

once there
steal another car
Cadillac Fleetwood with power hood
hit a guy for his wallet
rifle a girl’s handbag
while she sits half-clothed oblivious
then snare that preppy Yankee
selling newspapers on the boulevard
make it into her bed
make it into the headlines

so easy
when you have Le Look
that trilby those shades

the right knot in your tie
tapered jacket silk socks
cigarettes lit one from another
so easy
with jazz on the sound track
action in the bars
in telephone booths
on the street
smoky trumpets and smoky cafés

and what of that Yankee girl?
the haircut no longer dated
but so hip it hurts
the Herald Tribune T-shirt
tapered trews
ballet shoes
eyes and lips so now
second time around it’s she
who takes the eye and ear
talking of her need to be free

making-out she’s pregnant:
a could-be would-be
masquerading as a journalist
at the press conference
for The Important Writer
With The Pork Pie Hat
who flirts with her then puts her down
shooting an existential line
she takes so seriously:
am I free? she wonders
am I free?
well – we shall see….

the Yankee actress who played the Yankee
met her death in Paree
the film made her famous in France
the French actor who played the gangster
en bas to Hollywood
yet the film made him famous in America
the man who directed the film
became famous everywhere
and forever

ill d’habite en La Suisse et aussi La France
bonne chance   



Jeff Cloves





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