He wore a woman’s face and as I found her strutting
Like a fortress on the street, I felt impoverished by the
Way she was carrying herself. Body to body, she had
Discovered how to love herself and climb over every single
Cobblestone with her heels and perseverance and she exposed
The meaning she had found within herself. What she had manifested
Across all sidewalks nobody could ever take away from her.
I heard whispers of her deep wrinkles, of her drinking,
Her solitude. I held on to the image of her the last time I
Observed her. They gossiped about her warmongering affairs,
Her cries for help on the midnight telephone. The abyss beneath
The perfect make-up. The collapsed abandoned body strangled
By the etiquette of her clothing. They said that she couldn’t sleep
Because her own body would haunt her, get back at her, infiltrate her.
To me she was a dame, before the colours came, the sparkle, the forms.
I found myself in her and we never spoke a word.
We were bound by a sadness that tried to overcome us, but we carried it
Like an accessory. She did it with a more vivid sense of style.
She was ready to take on the world and I considered it too small for her.
Nanni JouJou with the melancholic pout. They had found her stabbed in a
Shabby hotel room. I still smell her perfume. Still hear her footsteps.
Her empty corner on the street.
“Au Moulin Rouge” by Louis Anquetin (1861-1932)