Jump to content
Complete France Forum

A Poem about the 'real' France that albf is always on about


Recommended Posts

And in which I live :




dares show signs of life.


by the down-draught of the helicopter ,


cower in corners of imagined safety.


colour of the night changes,


flashes leaving after-flashes on the retina


battered open








rattle over the cobbles


whom have they come ?


Romanian girls who sleep on the floor


sleep without a mattress in the night,


sleep mechanically with clients in their cars all day?


Albanian pimp ? Always on time to pick them up for work.




lights move closer


the bearded convert shining with zeal since Syria? ,


and explosives like the stash they found last year?


stash shared by criminals and fanatics alike


dealers practise equal opportunities


my face


eyes dazzle


‘nourrice’ like my neighbour keeping the cocaine


the cannabis and cocaine close by ?






bag of banknotes lands in my courtyard


someone will want them back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only in traditional verse forms; 

This piece is a true account of my last major operation though:



in from the moment when the hospital porter told me I had to walk to

the operating theatre in some absurd paper overshoes intended to keep

my feet sterile after the betadine shower.

Surely my notes

explained that after a couple of minor strokes I was partially

handicapped? And anyway for all my previous operations I had been

taken on the bed and manhandled across from it on to the block.


grudgingly agreed to push me in the heavy bedside chair to the lift,

and beyond to the gates of the unknown regions.

When we

arrived I had to clamber onto a table that looked no wider than an

ironing board, but with arm-rests like upturned guttering on each

side that forced me into a position that would have been suitable for

a Crucifixion. An obviously inexperienced student introduced himself

as “Matthieu” and started searching anxiously for veins on of my

right arm at the same time as a nurse who didn't look old enough to

have passed her

did the same with my left hand.

Matthieu announced to

someone beyond the top of my head that the veins in my arm were too

deep and narrow but he would try on the back of my hand, so he

pounced and tried to get a catheter in, failing twice. The nurse on

my right hand had better luck and got the needle in then left it

hanging, while Matthieu said that as he had not succeeded with the

vein he would have to put 'it' in the artery on the underside of my

right wrist.

At this moment another conversation began

between two earnest and worried sounding interns about the

concentration of something, a gas I guessed.

They couldn't agree

on the units they were using

or another word that sounded very similar and one remarked that the

solution they had come up with “just isn't possible”.


discussion faded in and out for about 10 minutes but my attention was

distracted by an intense pain in my right wrist as Mattieu started to

sew some thing like a 2 inch long fishhook into the artery making two

stitches above and two others below.

I made a feeble joke

to the effect that in the olden days one was given an anaesthetic

before the operation whereas apparently now one was given an

operation to receive the anaesthetic, but nobody laughed least of all

the latest arrival, another student nurse who was trying to get a

line in to the PAC on right side of my upper chest to make up for the

failure of the line in my left hand which was still hanging

precariously on.

After her second failed attempt she

showed signs of panic so I pointed out that my PAC was very deep and

positioned at a odd angle so she needed a 30 cm needle, and would

have to hold it still to stop the PAC rolling.

“Oh I

don't think we have one that size here” she said and I suggested

that she went up to the Medical ward 2 floors above where they used

them for Chemotherapy, or had done for mine 4 years ago.


a good idea” she remarked and disappeared for a while.


seemed to be improving all round as the two earnest young men had

finally agreed on the concentration that was needed, and the

invisible voice behind me made them go through the calculations again

and confirmed their solution.

The second nurse re-appeared

with the 30 cm needle, and managed to connect to the PAC. Matthieu

was finishing tying the knots and a more senior theatre nurse

appeared and said mildly “ Oh if you have to put one of those in an

artery we usually give some gas and air”.

It was

now 42 minutes by the theatre clock since I had been laid out on the

table, and the voice of the person I never saw but believe to be a

senior anaesthetist training the interns around me moved down my left

side and I started to lose consciousness.

Would I wake up?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suppose it speaks of the sheltered life I have lead but the line about the pimps and their ladies in vans strikes a cord. A couple of year ago, touring the Pyrenees on the bike I needed to stop for a toilet break. We pulled up this dead end road only to find a white van with a young lady in a deck chair sitting next to it at the end of the road. I used the bushes under a bridge, cursing as a lorry then drove up. The lady then got off her deck chair and opened the back of the van up. The penny then dropped. Since then, we have seen these set ups all over. Sad.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As we drive up the St Calais road towards LeMans there are normally about 10 white vans parked in various parts of the woods alongside the road. Just past the roundabout that features the Wright Brothers Memorial is a large military barracks. The vans appear to be very busy. ??
Link to comment
Share on other sites

But the girls have to 'live' somewhere, and it happens to be 2 houses down from me...
The disgrace is that they have almost no facilities. I see them at the nearby boulangerie sometimes having a coffee before they are taken off to work

They aren't tenants so they aren't protected.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...