The accidental tourist
I rented the vélibre, which is Paris’s Bixi bike, and cycled all around Paris trying to be a bit of a tourist, even though I’ve been coming to Paris for 7 years and have seen almost everything… Here I was trying to see things I hadn’t before. It’s always important to try and make the familiar strange. Weimar flanneur til the end.
Les follies bergere! D’ou viens tu bergere? Hahaha, kidding.
Ah, Pere Lachaise cemetery. I first came here in 2006 with a boy who is now a ghost looking for Jim Morrisons grave which we never found. I ended up finding him a year later when I came here with Sonja, but I never found Oscar Wilde’s or Edith Piaf’s grave, so that was my mission this time around. I wish I had found Wilde’s back in 2006, because since last year, they put it behind a barrier and wiped off all the lipstick kisses. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.
Outcasts always mourn
Walking around Pere Lachaise in the December chill was a haunted experience, if you will. In fact, as I searched for Wilde’s grave, I paused along the way to peer into the tombs of those fallen from 300 years ago…. How the ancient gravestones employed calligraphy that dates it. The faded inscriptions, the names of those once loved now forgotten, turned to dust… The stories of babies who are forever tiny, men who were murdered and their mothers inconsolable, obelisks to lost wives and fallen soldiers, monuments to passengers who fell out of the sky …. And I couldn’t deny it any longer. As the sky turned to dusk at the ungodly hour of 4pm, I caught the scent of death. I smelled death at every corner. She was like a sick reminder that no one gets out alive.
I have been to Dublin where Wilde is from, and they adore him there. Monuments to his glory, his most famous quotes engraved in marble, and his home now a museum. Dublin is a city if writers. Too bad they’re now consider our way of paying tribute (ie kissing the grave) “defacing.” Wilde would totally tell Ireland to sod off and let the ladies smooch his stone!
Being able to pause and reflect at Wilde’s foot for a long time on my own, I remembered my favourite quote of his: “She lives the poetry that she cannot write.” And I decided right then, amongst the putricine and cadaverine, to live and live and live. To live for all those who no longer have the luxury, and also for myself.