The nickelplate telephone chimed!
"Geo., its Poppy. Am I interrupting?"
"No, I've received neither email nor comment. Alas, Poppy, it appears nobody loves me, and you?"
"I'm in Paris, or sort of outside Paris. I don't know. I think it's maybe 1885 or 86."
"I got into a cab, then this man --a young man..."
"Maybe 25. I don't know, young...got into the cab too and asked where I was going and I said, 'Just around, anywhere, to see the night here and take note of it.' Then he said, 'Good, my destination precisely. May I share? I'll pay both our fares.' "
"Geo. I don't know this guy."
"Did he say anything else about destination?"
"Said something about destiny."
"Same thing. Same etymology."
"He said, 'Laissez-nous améliorer sur le destin',then laughed and added, 'ou(?)...renchérissant sur notre sort.' Then he went all thoughtful."
"Scan his face immediately! I'll get my lens!"
"I'll have to be quick. He wants to smoke a cigarette and I told him I'd jump out, so he's going to climb onto the roof of our cab."
"Not a moment to lose, Poppy! Ah, well done."
"Not personally, Poppy. But his remark about 'improving upon destiny' and the idea of climbing to the roof of your cab rang some bells. Is the moon up?"
"The moon? Uh, yeah and its a fine night."
"Ok, he's going to lie down on the roof of the moving cab. By the picture, I perceive he's already composing the opening lines that will establish a movement that includes Pound, Eliot, Untermeyer, Ginsberg --too many to enumerate-- a poem, Solo de lune. Offer him this translation: 'On the roof of a coach at night I lie,/My cigarette pointing at the sky/ While my poor bones jostle and roll...O roads, hills, mists, vales./My soul, let's see what it entails.'"
"Yikes! Geo., am I sending Jules Laforgue onto the roof?"
"Very good, Poppy. You remember your literary history."
"But, but, can't I tell him to give up cigarettes or something?"
"Certainly, but what takes him from us is nothing he did to himself, a disease we can't completely eradicate even in the 22nd century. What he does for a living and his recreational studies as a flâneur brings him into constant public contact. Nothing you can do except make sure this poem gets written."
"I...I like him, Geo. --how long?"
"I can't tell you that exactly, but Monsieur Laforgue is on a tight schedule."
"Then so am I. You'll have my report if I have to climb up there myself."
"That's the Poppy I've come to rely on!"