My Pimlico Girl

Under revision for my new book – there will probs be more changes

 I love my Pimlico girl – she loves me, too.
We met beside the Regent’s Canal.
Haloed by early morning sunbeams,
reading La Peste
she looked like a modern day
I straightened a crooked Gauloise,
mingling smoky words with
rive-gauche poise,
‘Pardon, mais j’adore Camus, ‘Sisyphe’ surtout.’
My schoolboy French delighted her,
‘Would you imagine Sisyphus happy?’
I stroked my chin in a ‘pondering’ ploy.
She broke the tumbleweed silence, ‘Clope?’
I lit a cigarette – passed it to her.
We stared at the canal,
its green-ink water
and swans at swim
as we smoked.
She whispered, ‘If only love itself was enough.’
The swans serened out of sight.
She sighed, ‘I admire their fidelity,
the way they mate for life…
and procreate…
We are strangers,
but could be lovers,  
sharing a discreet liaison  
to spite the crudity
of this obscene city.’
‘Was that soliloquy aimed at me?’
I conjured, from memory, 
‘We are all strangers – strangers to ourselves.’
She flicked the cigarette into the stream.
‘Then, let’s be strangers no more –
great works are born on street-corners
or restaurants’ revolving doors,
and great loves may spring
from towpath chance encounters…’
We took a Tube to Pimlico.
We walked, hand in hand,
labyrinthine streets
to a secluded mews retreat.
She led me up a spiral staircase
across a neat-trimmed patio patch
through a tight door
into a bijou pied-à-terre
its boudoir drenched with her pleroma.
We shared love and lust abundantly
but, curiously, not our names –
an irrelevancy.
At dusk we smoked my last Gauloise.
‘Il est temps que tu partie.’
 ‘Will I see you again?’
‘Bien sûr, cherie, je serais toujours là pour toi.’
Heading home,
blinded by the ferociousness  
of unexpected anonymous love
I skipped the tangle of Pimlico streets.
Now I trudge the pavement maze  
stumbling yellow clouds
of hazy memory,
and haunt the banks of the Regent’s Canal.

© coolhermit 2023
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A sepia-splashed and joyous rendition of transient affairs wreathed in tobacco smoke and punctuated by the occasional hacking and envious cough …

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