La vie parisienne

by Edmund White


She’s American, the wife of Picasso’s son.

He’s the nephew of Caillebotte and holds the last salon in Paris.

She’s American—her mother was the art critic for American Vogue.

Her grandfather on one side founded the French Communist party

And on the other  was the famous painter.

He’s the French film director whose wife draws crowds

Only in America where she’s a TV star.

His family owns the jewelry store where every new

Academician must choose the gems for his sword,

Jewels (from zircons to emeralds) paid for by friends.

She declined to be interviewed about her ravishing apartment

Because she’d left her old husband for an exciting young lover.

She’s the wife of the Catalan architect  but lives

With a polo-playing French novelist.

Her Persian cat, though fixed, fell in love

With his, though fixed.

He was my grandmother’s last lover.

She used to be a lesbian but now has

Two daughters with him.

He noticed that Josephine Baker’s music film, “Haiti,”

Was directed by  Marc Allegret, Andre Gide’s teenage boyfriend

And the son of his best friend, the Protestant pastor.

Edmund White is author of more than thirty books. He won the National Book Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award last year and the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction the year before.