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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 12: March 2022
Haibun: 277 words
By R J Sobel

The Last Time I Ate Paris


The first time I ate Paris, at a quaint hotel in Pigalle, after not getting the hang of the shower sans curtain in my room, I squished my way over the soggy carpet to the door to fetch a delightful p’tit déj’ américain served in a cast iron skillet (more seasoned than I) with a basket of croissants and tartines....

The next time I ate Paris, at an elegant restaurant in Faubourg St-Denis, deep into a bottle of St-Émilion, I fumbled with a pince à escargot, shooting a snail onto the shoe of a woman sitting across the room....

The last time I ate Paris (half-surprised they let me back in), on the way to the old Alsatian brasserie in the 6th Arrondissement, I underwent a change of spirit. Was it the gray summer day? The bouquet of pomme frites oil, tobacco smoke, and diesel? The lifeless old man being carried off under the “golden arches” on the Boulevard St-Germain? And what of the living? Like all big cities, I thought, we all just carry on—variously awkward in our foibles.

After satisfying my craving for the choucroute, I sat al fresco over a cognac and cigar—digesting my farewell repast like an epicure—working out the hour I’d arrive back home after the long plane trip and an extra stop to pick up berries and milk for my quotidian breakfast. Bags packed, belly full, thoughts already returning to the more prosaic, I left the lights and viands of Paris at last to the appetites of the real bon vivants.

summer vacation
who will feed
the goldfish


R J (Richard Jay) Sobel
Issue 12, March 2022

was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1949. An award-winning poet, he is the creator of the Written Word Album™ (Soliana Publications) and author of the four volumes of The Seasons Suite: Momentary Vagrant, Purview of the Sky, Leaves of Entropy, and Dreams and Other Lastings; as well as other works of drama, lyrics, poetry, and prose. His latest chapbook equinox/solstice: Haibun Variations is forthcoming in 2022. His works have appeared in numerous publications, including Haibun Today, OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters, and contemporary haibun online. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Southern California.

Author’s website: www.rjsobel.com

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