A metro station between a chapel and a carousel, and the central meeting point for a night out or an afternoon in the sun.
The station entrance is populated by clusters of people I can only compare to the unhoused hippies of San Francisco. They pass cigarettes, share toothy grins, and I feel nothing but safe as I lean against the transit map and press send on “I’m here:)”
My first meeting at Sainte Anne was on a Tuesday. My friend emerged from the underground and embraced me with fresh blue hair dye and an English smile.
We walked the immediate square and drew our eyes across the circle of tavern-style buildings that house German bars, small-event pubs, and tapas restaurants. We passed through a maze of scattered table plots where sounds of merry beer drinkers clamored through the open air.
She led me past these fronts and across Rue de Sauf, the popular pedestrian passage of bars and nightlife until we reached our destination. Poke!
A relatively new cuisine for Rennes but a tradition for me. The pink fish and rice called me back to every other Tuesday with my residential best friends in Chicago.
Here, the clean green restaurant, Island Poke, offered almost every ingredient for my reverential poke Tuesday.
you saw me hungry
ordering your largest size
eating every word that echoed off your plastic
bounced laugh to laugh
within the walls of our Chicago apartment.
you were there when we watched 90-day fiance
and I thought I had my own
you got stuck in my teeth
as green cards were signed
and friends fell asleep in each other’s arms
you were even there when I didn’t want you
bringing too many viewers to my breakup
and I picked at you with carpal tunnel chopsticks for revenge
I choked you down and willed you to disappear
but you had to be there
we all needed you
even when you were a group of wrong orders
too much seaweed and missing soy sauce
your mouthpieces added us on instagram
and we let them comment and discount
like friends with ulterior motives do
you still came when I couldn’t afford you
when I was too lazy to pick you up
but my hands changed their mind at the last minute
hey- grab one for me
I’ll pay you back I promise
I’ll cue something on the tv
I’ll feel whole when we’re together
My next Sainte Anne rendezvous came just a few days later. Another “I’m here:)” text and my date appeared, taking me across the same square but this time in daylight.
No open taverns lit the populated street. This time, storefronts jumped forth from each window. Children’s clothes, British candy shops, trinkets and souvenirs, record stores, women’s accessories, and a centre commercial with name-brand overcharges.
I asked for vintage resale, and he delivered, leading me down an empty alley where I thought for a moment, this is the end, until it opened to a clearing behind buildings and one open door.
As we crossed the threshold, my breath caught in my throat. It was magical.
The smell of freshly baked cookies wafted from the cafe corner and mingled with the earthly scent at the potted plant entrance. The walls were decorated with vintage posters and products, while the floor was crowded with equally antique couches and chairs, all urging us towards a small door frame in the back.
I dragged him by the hand, and together we stepped through the portal and embraced my Narnia.
Lining each wall were unique racks of floral dresses, knit sweaters, silk shirts, knee-length skirts, ‘80s jazzercise gear, leather second skins, pleated pants, and an unfair amount of jeans. Racks crowding the center of the room were topped with colorful converse, various hats, suede shoes, and leather boots as bins piled thin pieces between each gap in real estate.
Despite the abundance of my Eden, I held onto self-control and departed with only one pair of corduroy boot-cut pants that I arguably need as fall holds its season.
We left Vacarme, and it was my turn to lead the way. A short walk brought us to Renne’s latest Kilo Shop. A concept I’ve only seen this side of the Atlantic, the store color codes its clothes through security tags that reveal your item’s price when you weigh them on a metal scale.
We began our exploration through the overwhelming racks of jackets and jeans; suede overcoats and piled suspenders winked through our fingers.
Our footsteps found a spiral staircase, and we took it, descending to the basement where “mixed” clothes of no gender hung side by side. (But let’s be honest, who is still sticking to their designated label of clothing?)
I ran my hands over cotton, polyester, silk, and linen until I paused on a deep purple oversized polo sweater. Okay, one item, I told myself. You can buy one item.
And for €9 I made it mine.
Other People’s Clothes
how fabric can bring you home.
and an array of colors
can be the cheat code of comfort.
a loose thread can be pulled,
to make something new,
or create a problem to mend,
depending on who you are.
destroyer & creator
you can’t have one without the other.
stealing from the past and passing it
as something entirely new,
who are you to tell me no?
if you know anything of art,
you know nothing is new.
people place limits on other people’s clothes,
write rules on the cloth that covers me.
no white after labor day,
or mixed patterns and metals.
but my silver shirts sparkle with golden chains,
purple pulls the same extra-large over my shoulders,
corduroy slides, ready to be worn to pieces,
and my body fills the space someone dropped in a box.