city of light
and it will be again;
overhead hang the electric garlands
ready for a switch, flipped.
christmas was already prepared, before the standstill:
joyeuses fêtes.

but the decorations above me swing dark and ashamed
the streets empty of people told to stay away.
a deserted November morning
too early to be back here, walking
but I am going home, to take stock.
As is Paris: licking its wounds,
stopping the hemorrhage,
mopping up the rest.

blink, and it hasn’t happened
this time yesterday,
this time last week.
even the final seconds before the explosion
the countdown was still invisible:
how quickly those seconds bridge
the life you were living
and the death you had not expected, tonight.

for here they are, the grim reaper’s outriders
an eruption of lone gunmen
from cheap little cars.
emptying with their bullets
the blame of a battle far away
alien to those they are about to make pay for it.
return to sender:
and globalisation delivers, to any doorstop.

within minutes the ordinary making of merry
has turned to terror,
the mixing of pleasure with business
coldly conducted,
calmly coordinated,
as if payment were long overdue.

it isn’t: and the only thing we can fight with
is the separation of the separatists,
of religion from fanatics,
of radicalisation from staple faith.
if we cannot resist temptation –
of generalisation, of labelling:
then our futures will write themselves.

but that is too hard to remember
in this brutal moment;
and our northern hemisphere
is at a loss at such loss.
the only thing we see
are the deceased,
and those who lay hiding amongst them.
mown down in a concert hall:
nothing but eternally removed from the cause.

night revellers, then, of all varieties
the spice, and the poison of life
in the depths of such darkness
there will never be answers;
rise again,
city of light.