Petit-Montrouge Underground Quarries
supplied 2000 years the stones for Paris
night and day, gypsum, and clay,
now the urban ossuary for six million dead,
undermined and full of holes as a French cheese
the limestone of the underground
might bring Paris to collapse
and unite the living and the dead.
French sense of beauty and elegance
did not stop in front of the „gates of hell“
130 steps down into the underground.
Piled up skulls and bones in a charnel house,
like the cheeses and pumpkins on the market
to give them a decorative appearance
to compete with the architecture
and splendour above ground.
Where are all the shadows
coming from, those wisps of fog
which surround us day and night?
Facades of 1789, blood-splattered
and the gutters red of blood
and the hissing of the guillotine
the falling sharp blade
to cut the neck.
Is it the sweet smell
of confectionaries and boulangeries,
or the corpses' scent of centuries
ascending from metros and underground?
covered wagons transferring remains
to a mine shaft near the Rue de la Tombe-Issoire,
where millions of skulls are neatly piled up
to compete with the accuracy above.
Perhaps there is so much beauty and elegance,
to camouflage the pungent stench of transience.
Why am I so attracted to Paris?
The whisper, talk, murmur
of millions of ghosts, geniuses, writers, and artists,
the lips of love, the warm skin, the embrace,
the liberty, the open nights, the empathy,
the moments of love, the paradise
side by side with cold death.
Published on April 18th, 2023
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