Sometimes I have a strange, penetrating vision
Of a street made of off-white and maternal tin
on either side the walkway beats like a wing
while the road bears all the weight of its being
The ghosts of Baudelaire and Rimbaud, besides that of Verlaine, haunt these poems as well as these streets. "Rue Paul Verlaine" is written in the sonnet form. "Elsewhere" is in flowing free verse that imitates casual wandering, and discovers in the middle of the stroll, in the middle of the poem, an unexpected view of a sea port, before going on its way.
The sense of loss, however, is not far away from the sense of discovery or rediscovery. In "The Flies," the speaker almost whimsically bemoans that "The flies of today/ are no longer the flies of yore." In his childhood, the flies of yore killed themselves joyfully, by gluing themselves to flypaper, by shutting themselves in bottles, "by the hundreds, maybe the thousands." In contrast, the flies of today "watch their step."
These are transitory, delicate, sympathetic poems. I was surprised to learn from Galvin's introductory note that Queneau founded Oulipo in 1960.