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"...each drop of rain is a drop of regret..."

Like most of Nelson Algren's nonfiction, Who Lost an American? is almost compulsively quotable. Here's some untitled verse from the piece "Paris: They're Hiding the Ham on the Pinball King, or Some Came Stumbling":

I saw the girl with the black coiffure
Against a wall of the Rue Tiquetonne
Turning a parasol under her arm
And how the grass between the stone
Grows a brighter green on the Rue Tiquetonne,
For she stood less tall than the piled crates
When the clocks of St. Denis cried each to each -
tique-tonne!
tique-tonne!

A light rain (she told me)
Brings men to a room
A hard one keeps them home.
She did not say each drop of rain
Is a drop of regret on the Rue Tiquetonne.
For, buyer of peaches or buyer of flesh
You pay up your money and spit out the pit.

Peaches and girls both grow a light down
You don't touch either one without money down
What you don't have in money you can save in regret -
Maybe peaches are better. You can spit out the stone.

Seller of peaches or seller of flesh
Wish each other in Hell, then cheat on the weight.
The stair smells of soap and wine and old leather
That men climb to feel their deaths with pleasure -
Death costing little in such weather.

May 14, 2014 in Books | Permalink

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