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Opening Day on the Champs Elysees; a poem for Karl Lindholm

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Posted on April 3, 2014 |
By Gary Margolis



While Addison Independent sports columnist Karl Lindholm spends a year away in the West African nation of Cameroon, Lindholm's Cornwall neighbor and friend Gary Margolis has composed a poem with him in mind.

My friend, Karl, writes he’s sitting outside

with a jacket on at a cafe on the Champs

Elysees. Thinking of himself as Hemingway.

Imagining the words that strolled that street,

that Victory walked through its arches.

Karl speaks a Maine French that goes a long way

wherever he is. Which is everywhere

a city needs a friend to stop one of its citizens

to chat. Karl is well-known at home for chatting

all morning and afternoon, standing in front

of Sama’s Middlebury Cafe. With the Globe

under his arm, with nothing more important to do

than standing there with you. Talking baseball

or a sentence he read he wanted to make sure

you would remember to read at home, listening

to a game, trying your hand at writing in your own

voice. Which for Karl is somewhere between

Paris and Lewiston. A mill town with a gym

where Sonny Liston, Clay’s fish, went down

in the armory, taking a fall it was reported.

Almost starting a war between the promoters

and the fans shouting untranslatable things.

Words and a scene Hemingway would have loved

to live and compose in his bruised short sentences,

he would have wanted us. I can’t avoid saying, to drink in.

We are lucky to have Karl sitting there for us, talking

with a new stranger about the avenue, the girls’ spring

chapeaus, the season beginning again. What he’ll have

to tell us when he comes home on opening day.

— Gary Margolis, Cornwall

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