Ah that long, gentle run, spinning at speed
the three of us leading the group
pedalling all the way
from London to Paris

And Paris!


Reclining in shop windows
more naked than you could
ever be without this armoury
these straps and laces, lingerie
teasing my fingertips, city
of the body of the human
of the touch of skin on skin


The sleek hands of the city
are all over me as she lights
her cigarette from the glow
of a stranger’s outside the bar
on the pavement by the Place
Des Vosges as the sky splits
into blue and you sip your first
Mojito of the evening in the Chilean
Cap Horn, 8 rue de Birague.


A motorcycle ignites and roars, turning
into the Rue de Rivoli past the elegance
of designer clothes shops, the grandeur of
the Hotel de Ville, the Louvre
dust rising from ten thousand, thousand
shoes beneath the sudden July sky


The home of artists, painters, writers
of red wine, conversation, love and laughter
overlooking the heart of the city
multi-layered rooftops, freedom.

We visit Edward Munch, Nu Pleurant
so tender – she is naked and in tears;
part of me simply wants to watch her
the rest aches to hug, to hold.


Les pietons play Russian roulette
with the colours of the traffic lights
and stride that Parisienne stride
the length of the boulevard
as the evening sun strikes the gold
of the Egyptian obelisk in the
Place de la Concorde at the base
of the Champs Élysées and shades
the thick thighs of the Arc de Triumphe
as we bid our farewell to the city of love.


Liberty, Egalite, Fraternite fading fast
as we head towards Gare du Nord and home.
Has Liberty become my muse
arching over the lead-lined roofs of the city
spirit of liberated woman true to her desire?


A city full of more centuries of stone
than London, flowing with the blood of kings
and revolution, today brimming with the embrace of lovers
of kisses that never die, of the tenderness of angels, of spirit

Paris 2010