Voices and Verses

National Poetry Month: “Paris in Mind” by Stan Crawford

The Houston poet and lawyer reads a poem inspired by The City of Light.

“Poetry is often defined as the best words in the best order. I would agree with that.” – Poet Stan Crawford

In this sound portrait, Stan Crawford talks about his journey to poetry and some of his favorite poets, including his teacher Michael S. Harper, and he reads his poem, “Paris in Mind.”

Stan Crawford is an attorney and poet, who lives in Houston. His poetry has been published in a number of journals and anthologies, including The Comstock Review, Poet Lore, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Water~Stone Review and Illya’s Honey. He has been a juried poet in the Houston Poetry Fest and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012 by Dos Gatos Press. Since 2002 he has served on the board of Houston’s Mutabilis Press. Crawford’s poetry collection, Resisting Gravity, was published by Lamar University Literary Press in 2016 and was named a finalist for the 2017 Bob Bush Memorial Award for the Best First Book of Poetry, an award given by the Texas Institute of Letters.

 

Paris In Mind

Recall a city through which a river winds,
and silver barges with crème brûlée soil
slipped under boulevards crossing the water.
Salons of chattering finches and wrens
mingle in flight near the Bois de Boulogne.

At sunset, chestnut-honey light embraces
mansard roofs, stone kings on horseback,
and the two mills still left in Montmartre.
Couples at cafes drinking under the sky—
the day meditative as Satie.  In a garret,

imagine me: Jean-Paul Belmondo insouciance,
outside the law.  Imagine you: long hair tangled
on cotton sheets, inscrutable as the sphinx.
Love and lust, like dissolute cupids pillowed
together by Tiepolo in the Louvre, finishing

each other’s sentences.  A raven’s fadeaway call
blows from the graves in Neuilly—a tincture
of death, small as Chaplin’s moustache.  Remember
Paris like a strange room entered at night,
yet somehow we don’t stumble in the dark.

 

This poem was published in Resisting Gravity and is reprinted with permission by the author.

To learn more about this series, go here.

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