After a Night of Terror, Poets Rewrite Their Love Affair With Paris
On lockdown in the basement of a bar while terror takes over the streets outside, a band of bards felt the City of Lights’ spirit flicker—but they knew it would never go out.
Photos by Charlotte Gonzalez
Paris. Friday, November 13, 2015
They had just finished a rehearsal for an event called The Poetry Brothel, an offshoot of a New York event in which poets dress as prostitutes, and push their words like they’re selling sex. It was pleasant, depraved, French — everything that ISIS wants to kill.
The night air was mild. Unseasonal. November in Paris had never felt like this, never so gentle, never so safe. In the distance, light crackled, and made people think of nothing more dangerous than fireworks.
The poets stood on the pavement, kissing each other goodbye, a peck on each cheek like the French have done since before Fitzgerald or Picasso ever made a home on the Left Bank. And yet none of the kissers were French. Poets seldom live in the countries of their birth.
Then, out of the night ran two men, screaming.
"Get back into the bar! Get off the streets!"
The poets were bewildered. They did not move.