Circa 1968

Mary Kelly

You are here,

Next to a young man with beautiful hair,

En route to the Bastille, May 13,

One day before the general strike,

Two days after the Sorbonne reopens,

Ten days since the police occupation,

Four months following the riots at Caen,

In the wake of wildcat strikes in Lyons, Longer since the matraquage:

October 17, 1961,

Algerian workers, clubbed to death,

Thrown into the Seine from Neuilly Bridge.

Behind you, the photographer,

Seconds before the shutter clicks, immuring the moment,

Not long before you are born.

Straight ahead, the shoulders of an artist,

Supporting his companion who has mal aux pieds.

La Marianne de mai:

“Des tas d’idées me passent par la tête.

Je pense même à la Révolution française.

Moi, la jeunne fille d’une bonne famille anglaise.

Je commence à poser.

Mon corps se raidit.

Je tends mon bras.

Mon visage devient plus grave.

Alors, je suis piègée par le rôle que j’essaie d’incarner.”

Above, a flag,

Neither communist, nor anarchist, but Vietnamese,

Two years after the bombing of Hanoi,

Chicago and Kent State still ahead. Now,

“We are all German Jews.”

“We are all la pègre”

“On a raison de se révolter.”

On the balcony, a banner:


No separation, no delegation,

No right to speak without les enquêtes.

To the left, “We want more time to live!”

More time … more … everything …

“Everything, right now!”

Below, les marronniers, in bloom perhaps,

The smell of exaltation, exhaustion:

Ten dead, 1500 injured.

More than a cultural revolution,

Yet less than expected.

Beneath the paving stones,

More than the beach.