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poetry by j matthew waters

In Paris on Business

Rewritten from a poem originally penned July 5, 1983

You ask me why I’m seated alone in an empty bar
on a late afternoon scanning a complicated James novel.

But I am not alone my darling,
I’m terribly busy; I’m Lambert Strether
in Paris on business.
I’m an Ambassador sent by my own Mrs. Newsome,
attempting to persuade Chad to come home;
it’s a more complicated commission
than I could ever have imagined.

You ask me not to be silly?
How many drinks have I had since being alone in this bar,
mocking a complicated James novel?

I’ve been here since my lunch engagement
with Madame de Vionnet who has unfortunately
left to attend another matter.
This glass of wine is what’s left of our bottle.
We had been talking of her daughter,
a lovely young lady, who has indirectly disrupted
my plan of action.

I’m surprised you found this obscure bar outside of town,
it’s one of Madame de Vionnet’s favorite meeting places.
She cannot be seen with me, but she likes
my accent and my conversation.
It’s just that she’s married so secretly we must meet.
Oh, it’s a complicated matter!

Honestly, I am not attempting to toy with you.
Okay, if you would just like to chat for a while,
I’ll simply curtail my business for an hour.
Hell, Chad may never go back to the states
to run the family business for his mother.

I will listen to what you have to say as you try to salvage
some sense from this complicated relationship.
As for me though, I’m content, I love it here;
I don’t ever want to leave;
I couldn’t possibly marry Mrs. Newsome now.



february two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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10 thoughts on “In Paris on Business

  1. Really like this! How very annoying to the person trying to speak with you. Publish if not already published.

    Lucy

  2. It’s been a while since I have read good poetry….. nice… good work!

  3. Awesome writing, John!

  4. This is my favourite poem of yours

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