Postcard prose – Issue 15 | June 2012
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 has been in wild places such as: Jasper, Alberta; Radium, British Columbia; Ray Lakes in the Sierras, and the Greyhound bus depot in downtown Los Angeles after dark. Places where she has passed for native include Munich, New York, Paris, and Portland (the Oregon one). She has placed poems and photographs in: Lilliput Review, Off the Coast, Sow’s Ear, Waccamaw and Word Gumbo.
Read our current issue:
Two Poems by Mike Alexander
Cremation at Pushupatinath by Bonnie Bishop
Against Travel by Barbara Daniels
The Country by Tonya Ingram
Nocturne by Athena Kildegaard
The Wild Edge by Tim Laffey
Following Belle-Mère by Sarah Lawrence
For You, Good Price by Christopher Locke
Give and Take by Beth McDermott
De Profundis by Rick Mullin
The Highway Christmas Tree Outlet in April by Christine Jessica Margaret Reilly
Dead Reckoning by M. R. Smith
Never Never Land by Wendy Vardaman