Between the hours of 4 and 10 pm, the traffic below my window is especially bustling. Buses, low to the ground and packed, labouring up the Clignancourt hill. Scooters slipping between cars and sidewalk, cyclists, soundsystems, children, drunkards, hoods, shoppers, baguette-chompers, chicken-roasters, crepe-makers. People making dinner, no curtains to protect my neighbours’ spacious, classy apartments from view as they flit about from room to room. Home. Arms dangling from balcony railings, smoke breaks, watching the scurrying or slowed-down bodies below in between drags.
Something like 15 years ago I read a scrap of a poem on the front cover of eye magazine. I have not come across it since, but the first stanza has echoed and flashed in my memory — brightly, sharply, and especially on evenings like this. The poem is called The Brave Never Write Poetry, and the poet was Daniel Jones.
The brave ride streetcars to jobs
early in the morning, have traffic accidents
rob banks. The brave have children, relationships,
mortgages. The brave never write these things
down in notebooks. The brave die & they are