When Pressed

Louis Armand

Three Poems



for Pierre Daguin

We have examined, so to say, our consciences.
In broad daylight hard of breathing, there are
still many poor people in this country. A torn
newspaper lying on the stairs, a wall of
frozen air blocking the way. Scraps of something
picked up in the street: a carcass of America
and flies and air tasting of rind. Who
has enough of anything to force the issue?
In its last labours the old world disfigured
into triangle, circle, square …
Blaise Cendrars was born in a poem
in Paris, in a building on the left bank
where the Romance of the Rose was written.
Measuring out the fix in lift-shaft chiaroscuro.
To levitate with the saints, to wrench
time and place out of their existing order.
The moments tick by, at first incrementally,
then all at once. Navigating the un-
necessary weather, by a hidden
yet direct passage that bypasses the too-
pedantic mind. Or there was still time
before the closing call, to catch the silent matinee
at the all-night movie joint.
A bum with a paper rose sings Be my Valentine.
It’s raining. Perhaps it’s a sign.