Outside, I hear the gay laughter of youth.
They laugh at anything.
They laugh freely.
The humid air resonates
with their bellicose mirth.
Laughter soothes a need…
the need to…burst with pleasure.
Perhaps they flee something,
They live lighter, laughing.
When the world turns inside out,
One must really look.
One must really listen,
but it’s there.
It’s a quality of life which always exists,
but you must find it
The red bellies jiggle
against the white emptiness.
I wrote this poem many years ago, around age 19, while at a summer music “camp” in Nice, France. Not a bad place to practice! They were productive summers. (I went twice) I practiced. But I also spent many hours on the beach, and many hours in cafÃ©s, speaking broken French with my french friends, who spoke broken English. I’m sure we solved all the worlds problems, if I could only remember how. I love the creative beauty of the language and culture of France.
I also translated the poem, since I studied French while there. But I won’t bore you with that.
I remember the fields of lavender, one of the main scents in french perfume. I remember the late night pizzas in crowded outdoor restaurants along pedestrian shopping areas. I remember the Nice and Cannes jazz festivals, where I snuck in to hear Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy Rich, Stephan Grapelli, among others.
For some reason, I got to visit heaven early in life.