Dave's Mental Meanderings
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Poem - "Attendez-Vous S'il Vous Plait"
“Attendez-Vous S’il Vous Plait”
I brush the dust from my only suit,
Coat pockets stuffed with a gambler’s loot,
My intentions are conscious and clear.
I straighten my tie in the broken mirror,
Turn on the light to see a bit clearer,
I don’t use it very often in here.
Down the hallway, down the stairs,
The elevator’s broken but nobody cares,
There’s no one in a hurry tonight.
Across the marble lobby floor,
My boots click off a lonely score
And I’m avoiding every gaze in sight.
The bellhop lights a cigarette
And tells me “What you ain’t found yet
Isn’t waiting ‘round the corner out there.”
I can’t ignore the words he said,
I lift my hat up off my head
And run my fingers through my jet black hair.
A sideways glance is all it takes,
He nods and grins then pumps the brakes
And he watches as I walk on by.
The night clerk ‘neath the light so dim,
I slide my key across the counter to him
And he asks me how I’m getting by.
One night like this sometime last year,
I stopped in after having a beer
And he asked if I’d be staying here long.
“Just until I’m through the worst,”
“That’s what everyone says at first,”
And I bet he isn’t often wrong.
“When intricate schemes fall apart at the seams
And the winds of change blow the sands of dreams
Into far-reaching corners of space,
When you find yourself trying to pick up the pieces,
It’s best to fall back in familiar creases
And rest in a comfortable place.”
Across the rain-soaked night I ride,
Fare for the cab plus a tip on the side
Just in case I need to leave in a hurry.
The big oaken doors are opened for me,
And I catch the eye of the maitre d’,
He looks more than a little bit worried.
“Excuse me sir, can I borrow a pen?”
He replies “Were you talking to me just then?”
I said “Hurry ‘fore I change my mind.”
“Careful friend, but you know the score,
Won’t tell you again because I told you before,”
He knows exactly what I’m hoping to find.
On the other side of the gambling room,
Through the cigarette smoke and the hazy gloom
I see a girl with a funny hat.
She winds her way down the spiral stairs
And draws a crowd of hungry stares
And for a second the band goes flat.
At a table nearby I spot the Greek,
He follows my gaze and he risks a peak
‘Cross the room at the one who’s to blame.
He throws in his hand and gathers his coat,
Rehearses the lines he knows by rote
And I take his empty seat at the game.
When the Greek returns with a flourish of charm
And the girl with the funny hat on his arm,
He’s wondering why I came back around.
The Greek plays big and he plays for keeps,
And while the town outside around us sleeps
He lays all his money down.
I finger the folded paper that lies
Deep in my pocket while inquisitive eyes
Are trying to get the better of me.
Just as I move to make a stand,
I feel the touch of a foreign hand
Settle right down on my knee.
She puts in a bet and fixes a stare
On the Greek and the girl with her hands on his chair
And the Greek knows something ain’t right.
His features fall like a lead balloon
And he blankly stares ‘cross the gambling room
As we disappear into the night.
My cab is still waiting but we walk instead,
I banish all questions that clutter my head,
I’m not doing any thinking tonight.
The gambling room burned down after that,
A pair of Greek shoes and a funny hat
Were all they found by the morning light.