Postcard proseIssue 15 | June 2012

Eiffel Tower

by Karen Greenbaum-Maya

An experienced tourist wants to get lost in Paris. It’s not easy. The Eiffel Tower always shows up unexpectedly, sticking out from chestnut trees, floating over McDonald’s golden arches, thrusting like a glimpse of a woman’s haunch between Belle Époque buildings. The experienced tourist plays at getting lost. He sits down at the next random café and looks around for a hotel and a bakery. He could stay for years on this dowdy stone street. He could take up a new life in a tiny corner studio shaped like the Eiffel Tower on the next street that fans out from one of those étoiles where identical streets splinter off like quarks from a split atom. He’ll walk one more street and find himself standing across from his apartment, as obvious as the Eiffel Tower. One day he bought sheets printed with the Eiffel Tower. He almost got lost in the Ste-Pierre, looking for Sacré Coeur, but when he came out of the shop, there it was, rising up on the hill like the sugar-cube model he’d made in seventh-grade history. 

The experienced tourist is tired of always knowing the way to the Eiffel Tower, such a sneaky structure. It looms silently through the milky air. No part of the Eiffel Tower could ever be part of anything else. He tries to confuse himself by turning corners every time he spots the Eiffel Tower. Nothing helps. He is tired of knowing the streets, of having a map in his head with all the monuments marked. He is tired of being impressed. He is looking for a place so ordinary that he won’t find his way home ever again.

About the author

Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a retired clinical psychologist in California. In another life, she was a German Lit major, read poetry for credit, and lived for Art. She has been in such wild places as: Jasper, Alberta; Radium, British Columbia; Ray Lakes in the Sierras, and the Greyhound bus depot in downtown Los Angeles after dark. She received Honorable Mention in the Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Contest, and her poems and photographs have appeared in Lilliput Review, Off the Coast, and Sow’s Ear. Kattywompus publishes her two chapbooks, Burrowing Song and Eggs Satori. See more at her blog.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

on a wrought iron bench in Bristol by Jamie Donohoe
Ocean Point by Melissa Goodwin
Amaszonas, S.A. by George Guida
Santé by Zoe Karathanasi
Three poems by Athena Kildegaard
Two poems by Jane Kirwan
African Soundscape by Karla Linn Merrifield
Aubade in Transit by Rick Mullin
The Fields of May by James B. Nicola
Igbo Directions in Amsterdam by Uche Ogbuji
High Jumping Silver by Gail Peck
the ground unfurls by Gabrielle Peterson
Two poems by Mike Puican
Byzantium at the Bus Stop; Byzantium at the Mall by Sarah Sadie
Romance by Askold Skalsky
Two poems by Bill Yake

Postcard prose

Before We Let the Hens Out by Emily Avery-Miller
Cheng Man Ch’ing by Douglas Penick

Travel notes

Life Jacket by Margaret McMullan
Hamam by Caroline Swicegood