Future Perfect

The Linguisticator meets you at Carrefour.
Un vrai galant, he buys you rouge à lèvres.
Teaches socially accepted forms of extrication.

If someone gropes you, say Arrête tes bêtises.
If someone wonders why your hair is mussed, say C’est le mistral.
If someone asks you to admire their ugly baby, say Je me sauve 
and leave.

The Linguisticator is a veritable language experience.
You programmed him in Oregon but he caught a virus.
Now his Frenchness is cent fois off the spectrum.

Sings Aznavour as you tour the centre historique and Piaf on the tram;
Padam, Padam, when it clangs.
The Linguisticator can stop a tram with one raised eyebrow,

one soi-disant eyebrow. A fatalist, he has abandoned caution
with certain potent liquors of the region. Ask him if he’s OK, 
he’ll say
Le silence éternel de ces vastes espaces m’effraie.

Ask him what irony means, he says
Tout pour le mieux dans ce meilleur des mondes possibles.
But if his ennui peaks, he suspends all conversation.

Broods for hours muttering Putain,
je suis rien qu’un two-bit trompe l’œil.
Malaise on a loop. It never fades.

More Poems by Claudine Toutoungi