Rose Mary Boehm

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Paris Diary 1958

My first week in Paris. Damn it,
my French stayed behind somewhere
between college and Walburg, Hesselberger
& Frankenveldt. At least
I remembered how to call a porter
when I got off the Express from Düsseldorf
at seven in the morning.

Wonder if Mum’s over the shock
that I'd prefer this cauldron of sin
over a secure typing job
at the local lawyers. She’s like a chicken
that’s hatched a duck’s egg:
hysterically running up and down
the lake shore watching the chick swim.

In the Gare St. Lazare where I have to take
the train to the Banlieue (the suburbs
for you and me) this pretty Arab boy
was trying to chat me up.
Here I am, Elfriede from Werther Street,
crossing Pont Neuf, looking up at Notre Dame,
walking around Place de la Concorde,
sitting in Les Deux Magots.
If they could see me now.

Went to the movies. One of the double
bills was ‘Cat on the Hot Tin Roof’ in English.
French subtitles. No English, no French.
Had to make up the dialogue.
Elizabeth Taylor was gorgeous, as always.
Paul Newman angry most of the time
or sulking. He probably said to her:
‘You piss me off no end’. And she:
‘Get rid of that stick and I show you.’

Somebody tried to sell
the Tours Eiffel. I have nobody
to talk to, mon Dieu.
But I’m breathing the same air—
give or take a few car exhausts—
as Talleyrand, Cardinal Richelieu
and Les Trois Mousquetaires.
On the Champs Elysées
I passed some handsome flics
who whistled when I went by.
Mother wrote. She’s coming Monday
to take me home.

Painting by Gene McCormick


Saville Row suit.
Silk folded in pocket.
Severe jaws set firm.
Rimless glasses
without reflection.

Smiles dispensed
Diamond set in gold
glimmers over damask
on the candle-lit table.

Five bottles of 2005
Bodegas Roda Cirsion
bring that Wyoming hue
back into his face.


Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. Her fifth poetry collection: Do Oceans Have Underwater Borders, has just been snapped up by Kelsay Books for publication May/June 2022. Her website: