Monday, 16 April 2018

14. PARIS SYNDROME

Paris syndrome (French: Syndrome de Paris, Japanese: パリ症候群, Pari shōkōgun) is a transient mental disorder exhibited by some individuals when visiting or going on vacation to Paris, as a result of extreme shock derived from their discovery that Paris is not what they had expected it to be.

Paris wasn’t how we expected it to be. I’m not talking
about weather. I am talking about the promise of Paris:
a thing beyond red shoes and butter. The promise of Paris
was broken / we developed a schizophrenia of the tourist.
One of us was a black and white postcard of a wrought gate.
That one was posted to our married lover: the breakfast architect.
One of us had a vision of Mary, the tears on her cheeks
as thin and brittle as sliced almonds. That one woke in the night
a mouth full of hailstones. In Paris we were conjoined twins
flung in the boot of a red car. The car got traffic snagged
by the Moulin Rouge. Three people died
when the fire engine couldn’t get through. Paris said
it would have everything our hearts anticipated
and this is the problem with breath behind an iron grate.
We thought we could cure ourselves by talking to cathedrals
but there is a madness in not getting what you thought
you would get. Still, there was something in that expectation
before the trip—a hot, live thing that tasted
of mercury on the tongue.

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