Lacrymogène by Mike Alexander

Even after a full bottle
of St. Sulpice,

it shouldn’t be hard to find
La Place de la Concorde.

Suivez les nuages du gaz lacrymogène.
Follow the trail of tears wept

on the barricades,
or at the altars of ATMs.

The bartenders are on strike,
because their union is in league

with the swizzlestick union,
which is part of the readymade

coffeemill birdcage makers union,
which itself falls under the auspices

of the apothecaries union,
which covers the mixing of paint,

the mixing of metaphors,
the defjam mix, comparative

mixologies, etc. The tour guides,
respectable poets, are between poems,

just now. Billy Collins starts to sound
like Lawrence Ferlinghetti, after

a few rounded glasses of red.
The cobblestones are old,

but the Beaujolais is very new.
It has arrived, like the right idiom

in your mouth at the right time,
quand on parle comme un vrai chien,

the way a true dog says Je t’aime
to a bottle left tearfully dry.


P & J Poetics, LLC, published Mike Alexander’s first full-length collection, RETROgrade. His chapbook, We Internet in Different Voices (Modern Metrics), is available through EXOT books. His poems have appeared in Rattle, River Styx, Borderlands, Bateau, Measure, Raintown Review & other journals.