There’s a preponderance of dog shit in Paris
but no one says so, attracted to its other, finer qualities.
If people were stepping in that much crap in Detroit
you’d never hear the end of it. Motown my ass, they’d say,
without so much as a backward glance at the Miracles, the Temptations.
They might remember Ike & Tina since he beat the shit out of her,
but they’d be wrong. They were from Tennessee.
What you get for the price of Paris is a certain forgiveness,
a willingness to overlook the less scenic. I don’t know why.
I told a French guy once that I loved how clean and green the Seine looked;
he laughed till he almost puked. Because I was wrong, of course,
but also because cleanliness wasn’t his idea of a compliment.
So let’s be Paris. I’ll be blind to your porn habit
and you’ll elide the edges of my idiot rage.
We’ll be full of shit but marvelous anyway,
and the young will flock to us
as an eternal symbol of romance.

.Elizabeth Scanlon