A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Our tight budget afforded only cornmeal.
We cooked up a two-kilo batch in a big pot
on a hotel hotplate. It bubbled. When done,
we poured it out on a round table, hot.
The City lit up our nights, shaken by trucks below.
We helped ourselves three times daily to little cuts.
We tried adding milk when we had it, but to no avail.
The corn cake kept on punching us in the guts.
But we were floating above our flesh, didn’t bitch,
lucky to be paupers in Paris and free. Then one night
a patron of the arts took us out to dinner. He was rich,
and so was the meal, oysters and wine. He fetched
us back to our room by car. On the hotel sidewalk,
we corn cake connoisseurs, helplessly retched.
“Summer before the War” (Life magazine)