Pillow Mint in Paris Time


Welcome to the Hotel Chanson de Geste, for once again it is pillow mint in Paris time, where the Frosty Jacques and Tom Peepers crowd the Sunday street like savages to supper, and sing how they’ll stand tippy-toes on the brink of infinity, or thereabouts, and tell in tune how they value their lives no more than a pigeon and no less than a prince. It’s here I first see you, smiling above the godless heights of their lowdown voices. It’s here I stitch my narrative threadbare.

I don’t know you, and because of this, I don’t know myself. In this glorious nowhere, where once memories gathered murk, we drink of dandelion and burdock, talking of towns we once walked, and play innocent in a deceased century of monocle-fogged ankle-gazers, looking to let their minds race around the swell of honeydew, beaded between your nape and nectar.

For you, I’d gladly stumble seven deadly snowbanks, buttons undone and daring, snow-blind to icy looks and cold stares, my warm front moving in my old country ways, and sway away from highballs and holy-rollers, to perchance Freudian slip into someone more comfortable, someone cannibal-friendly.

I watch you watch me climb a streetlamp above the minstrels and music. In carnival-text I testify to all the white-laid and paper-cut people of how they’ll live long with lives tucked inside short pants, their thoughts shivering like a couple of elderly, tweed passengers in their skull, taken hostage for seventy-oddball years, where the candy-bright kiss-and-makers are hollow on the outside, always looking inside where wolves at the door look out for lambs dressed to slaughter their thirst for long-wrist, mutton-mouthed mamas, with nipples making points where t-shirt slogans suffer, and the fruits of their labor are kiwi-fuzzed and parted in Bengali-pink promise, to break in and steal away heartfelt words like big, brass bandits.

I pause, inhaling all of France in winter in a lone breath. The gypsy troupe rap their fingers across their flugelhorns and trumpets. My eyes lock down on a blurred, papier-mâché man in the crowd, seizing something inside him that punches through his public face, and with my human tongue I inform him that if he puts down a towel, life pulls up its pants, and if he takes a wander to wonder why, that old kitten-sack river rolls belly-side up, exposing an imposing ex, posing with her new, cricket-faced, arm-scratched beau, and they shall look through each other with September in their eyes and June on their lips.

The papier-mâché man collapses like a marionette cut loose. I descend the streetlamp and make my way through the crowd, toward your secretarial smile and wishing well eyes, toward the woman that sees me as I see myself, the darling one who finishes sentences I’ve yet to begin. The gypsy troupe open their throats and wail of ancient legends. I en-wrap your coffee-warm hand in mine, and in silent surrender we ascend the steps of the Hotel Chanson de Geste, for once again it is pillow mint in Paris time, and our time begins now.


Philip Tinkler was born in the bucolic north of England. He has been published in the Mad Hatters' Review, Skive Magazine, Red Fez, Word Riot, The Dream People, and Six Sentences, with work forthcoming in Full of Crow and The The Stray Branch. He lives in NYC with his words and woman. More ramblings can be found at philiptinkler.com