Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Paris? Burning?

Someone posted something about Paris burning, and it showed up in my Google Reader. But here on the site its gone, vanished, like it only existed in this ethereal realm of RSS feeds, distributed for some other ghostly stranger. But that other stranger was me.

So I started poking around, wondering if Paris is Burning was code for some piece of art or trendy band. There were a few music videos on youtube that caught my eye, but then I got distracted because what else does youtube do to you?

And a few hours later I'm reading Henry Miller, come across a passage that stands out as though emblazoned -

"Paris hadn't been good to him, any more than it had to me, or to anybody, for that matter, but when you've suffered and endured things here it's then that Paris takes hold of you, grabs you by the balls, you might say, like some lovesick bitch who'd rather die than let you get out of her hands."

And I remembered my first night in Paris, hunched under a heavy backpack, alone, confused by the language, “les” and “las” and diacritical marks. Ended up on the wrong train to one of those suburbs that was plagued with race riots and burning cars a few years ago. Slept on the grass in a park under a canopy of leaves and stars, my pack nervously fastened to my belt, anchored for the night.

So maybe Paris needs to burn, or already is burning, its long history of strife and injustice, filth and violence, from the line of Louis to the Third Reich, even its ideological high point rising to the cry of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity guillotined, drowned out by the farcical cry for blood.

Maybe all that is part of the appeal.

Ah, beautiful place, Gay Pari'...

Me? I prefer New York’s particular brand of misery.

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