Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spinning Serge Gainsbourg (Poem)

Spinning Serge Gainsbourg

It's all there
in record after record —

the voice hunched
in the back of that

French throat, burning
from the ever-present

Gitanes. He lit more
than one Bardot on fire

with the chanson of his
ardent eyes, pools black

as the vinyl his fans sung to
while the Vatican censored

the dirty old man's love
songs. That body of his

evidence of who and what
he loved is still there,

on the rue de Verneuil,
the pianos long gone

but the way it was then
more than just stories

of a franc note torched on tv
or a Ford Motor catalogue

studied for phrases
for some romantic melody.

Framed gold albums
stack up against photos

of Marilyn and Deneuve,
Marianne and Juliette,

and even the star himself
in the morgue in '91.

Charlotte's got it all now,
the tomato juice in the fridge,

opened bottles of wine,
medals, toy monkeys, ashtrays,

puppet dolls and tapes,
his toothbrush, the blackout

curtains, the covered-up
graffiti. The house is a lair, his

downtime there given to Elvis
and Ray Charles, Dylan, jazz,

Cole Porter, Noel Coward,
Je t'aime . . . moi non plus

and Love on the Beat
and dried flowers on his bed

the day his heart stopped —
untouched, a museum

in waiting. Charlotte spins
Serge in love never made.

All the French do.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem is my response to today's photo prompt at Magpie Tales. Go here to see the image, drop a link to your own ekphrastic poem or piece of flash fiction, or to read other writers' inspired contributions. 

Serge Gainsbourg's house in Paris remains as it was the day he died, everything but the pianos in place.


Berowne said...

A look back at the past a la francaise. Not many Americans remember Serge today.

Bo said...

I love your words.

Dick Jones said...

An atmospheric and evocative hommage both to the man and his time.

Helen said...

I love that you wrote about her fascinating father ... beautiful writing!! One of my favorites this week.

Wayne Pitchko said...

well done and thanks for sharing

Tess Kincaid said...


Michael said...

a man so gifted the french could not help themselves. very nice

Kutamun said...

Holy Motors, miss Carax ! Oui oui