Montmartre – By Julian Gallo

Pic by Pierre Blaché



Pedestrian incubus; deformed cardboard faces and a Polish girl chatting with two thuggish drug dealers as rain pisses down on dizzying faces with handfuls of coins.

Posters advertising lesbian floor shows mask the elongated courtyard, distant and hallucinatory. I mask my enthusiasm and excitement with the typical New York cynicism that keeps my eyes on the thugs as they hover in the doorway, watching, waiting.

There are never any faces in the windows except for make-believe ones. Spiraling sensuality of the flesh trade will not tolerate even the slightest sound that will distract them from their merriment.

This American, this tempted New York boy watches stocking legs and round, firm ass of curvaceous blonde holding court near the mouth of the metro. Rows of eyes, knowing winks; might as well come clean.

Ignore the suspicious Arab boys and turn back — umbrellas knifes head on Boulevard de Rochechouart, frazzled women tear through the discount bins, each scrap of junk something potentially valuable.

More rain.

R a a a a a i i i n n n.

Lost, in circles, paradoxical and titillating glory, the prevalent body odor in the department store, Place Pigalle, a long way from home but familiar Chambers Street denizens work their way in and out of rat holes and cafés.

Again, lost. Turn back.

Night approaches.

Quiet, distant hotel awaits us.


Paris, April 2000


About the Author

Julian Gallo is the author of ‘Existential Labyrinths’, ‘Last Tondero in Paris’, ‘The Penguin and The Bird’ and other novels. His short fiction has appeared in The Sultan’s Seal (Cairo), Exit Strata, Budget Press Review, Indie Ink, Short Fiction UK, P.S. I Love You, The Dope Fiend Daily, The Rye Whiskey Review, Angles, and Verdad.