Paris 1966
Perfectly Imperfect
by Lynn White

It started when we stood hopefully
with our thumbs outstretched
by an English roadside,
heading towards Italy and Yugoslavia
without maps or money,
or sense of direction.

And we made it to Italy.
and swam off the rocks,
with a man we’d met in a cafe,
because he said we could.
And we swam and swam until two policemen came,
(one very stern and one very twinkly),
and said we couldn’t.
Nor could we leave the rocks without clothes on,
or with clothes clinging to our still wet bodies,
or lie on the rocks until we were dry,
in case we disconcerted the traffic or populace.
This being the main street in Trieste.

And we made it to Pec and lived
in a house ‘typique du Turque’
with a water pump in the garden
and a toilet, also ‘Typique du Turque’,
which made us very ill indeed.
But the parties were good and
the conversations interesting,
even though no one spoke English.
And we learned to speak some Albanian,
which was always handy.
And we survived to sit thirstily by a hot,
dusty roadside and fantasise
about the ice cold mountain water
streaming through the streets of Pec,
and even about the water pump in the garden.

And we made it back home.
We had got lost a lot,
but hadn’t got raped or murdered.
So far as we can remember.

What perfection.

PHOTO: The author (left) on L’Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris (1966) during one of her many European sojourns.

lynn white1

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is an edited excerpt from a longer work. In the days when it was possible to leave one job at the beginning of summer and walk into another at the end, I made many similar trips, but this was the longest, most exotic and most exciting! Perfect in it’s ups and downs!

lynn_white

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places, and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy, and reality. Her poem “A Rose For Gaza” was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud “War Poetry for Today” competition in October 2014 and is published in Poetry For Change anthology by Vending Machine Press. Poems have also recently been included in Harbinger Asylum’s Literary Journal and A Moment To Live By anthology, Stacey Savage’s We Are Poetry: An Anthology of Love Poems, the Weasel Press anthology Degenerates, Voices For Peace, Tangent Literary Journal, Amomancies, Dawntreader, and various other on line and print journals and anthologies.