Walking up the rue du Odessa then walking back down again it’s tough to contemplate the parameters of transcendence when you’re looking for a bar, a bar in which a woman once whispered something into your ear, a bar in which Beckett once waited interminably for the barman to bring him a glass of Pernod. On the boulevard Edgar Quinet your shadow suddenly detaches, disappears into a film noir alley, leaving you in Sartre’s lonely ontology like a hapless fly in a chunk of amber. In the café some are seated, others are getting up and going away, some with a feisty truculence, some with a wavering kind of hesitation that distends the definition of time, while others are trying to appropriate the shambling remains of your subjectivity. And in the many stately plane trees on the other side of the square the red squirrels are dying of old age.
Mark Terrill shipped out of San Francisco as a merchant seaman to the Far East and beyond, studied and spent time with Paul Bowles in Tangier, Morocco, and his lived in Germany since 1984, where he’s worked as a shipyard welder, road manager for rock bands, cook and postal worker. He is the author of Bread & Fish (The Figures), The United Colors of Death (Pathwise Press), The Salvador-Dalai-Lama Express, (Main Street Rag), Superabundance (Longhouse), Laughing Butcher Berlin Blues (Poetry Salzburg) and several other collections of poetry, prose, memoir and translations.