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03.16.07, friday night

Paris: bullet holes from the Occupation, Indian movie posters and discount bindis; interiors of euro stores in working-class neighborhoods, full of things--things!--Jeff Koons would have copied. Crones in floor-dusting sable coats, strolling in the park. Black-haired siamese twins, sharing headphones in a cafe. Bus driver rapping his pen on the wheel to "Hotel California". Toy dogs printed on a woman's headscarf. Thomas Hirschhorn's screw-embedded mannequins and gruesome photos of dead Arabs. A bear rug made of chocolate. Finches, alive and feeding on art at the Palais de Tokyo. A Cambodian man, who spoke to me in French; I didn't know what to say. Last time in Paris, I was in posh company--it had seemed stuffy, overly elegant, austere.

I searched--always searched--for a proper response. Instead I made a substitution, an uneasy gesture. Minutes later, I took a photo of an intersection: housing complex, abstract mural, balti house, African foodstore, Chinese computer repair shop. Another reminder: it was like this, here.


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