Thursday, July 07, 2005

Imposter on the Upper East Side

Alone on business
dinner at a sidewalk café
small table, small candle, small flower
attentive waiter, foreign accent and style.

A Brooks Brothers jacket
camouflage for my Midwestern self
because it’s a sultry July night
and who but the upper crust would dress this way for dinner.

I eat penne pasta and drink chianti,
eavesdropping conversations of people nearby
whose lives in sprawling pre-war apartments
I can only imagine.

Plans for this weekend’s house party in Southhampton
discussions of money management
praise for how the one guy made the others’ teeth look perfect—
and with a furtive glance, I saw, they did.

Mostly beautiful people pass by
self-satisfied and self-assured
they hail taxis in a nonchalant
New York sort of way.

A breeze in from Central Park
that great lung of the city
mixes with cigarette smoke
from the bored valet.

Faint smells of garbage
waft up Lexington Avenue
disturbing the picture
of perfection.


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