Monday, May 5, 2014

Potpourri Poetry 

The night I ate the home decor 
at the Christmas party my life 
changed, really opened up. 

There I was, in the green and red 
and silver and blue and pine and pumpkin
pie and pink champagne, at a company party 
the Hallmark Cards company, 
the Kansas City holiday party of the year!

And me, the "token heterosexual."
or so the guy at the door told me,
under the mistletoe.
"Well, not literally, but symbolically 
maybe!" he said. 
I liked this party already. 

Through the door and inside
the snow-covered mansion 
it was like an old Christmas movie
with some Menorahs thrown in; warm
and colorful and musical and friendly. 

I didn't really work at Hallmark yet,
I was a temp at the time, directing traffic
in the holiday overloaded shoppers garage 
and yet - tonight might be the night
I dreamed, mingling...
to send a good impression. And I cared enough 
to send the very best.

I mingled through the festive dark;
there were some men in suits - the executives - 
letting their hair down and ties loose.
I sauntered through the dining room the kitchen 
the nursery the bathroom the bar and then 
back through this entire route again; now 
I was HUNGRY. 

The more red wine I drank the darker
it got in there, the more festive 
and merry, but maybe my judgment was off. 

Either way, I was happy as I spied delicious
food on the green velvet-topped cherry-wood table 
by the out of control fire in the fireplace. 
What a night! 

My sauntering now turned into indoor
cross-country skiing, kind of sliding across
the carpet, but I made a bee-line to the food. 

And beautiful food; brilliant unusually bold 
red potato chips, some of them dark brown, dried 
orange peels mingled in, salad too: maybe iceberg 
lettuce, probably romaine, absolutely arugula, 
lots of it blue and even bright yellow! 

The bartender was watching me and smiling,
quite a few people were watching me and smiling; 
I smiled too, walked over to the bar and ordered a drink. 

"To wash it down with," I winked, 
gesturing back at the still, so far 
untouched multi-colored bonanza by the fire. 

The bartender winked. They all did. 
I went back to eat, winking once more.

The first bite was crispy, I could tell
it was going to stick to my ribs, and yet...
as I was chewing and swallowing, I had a flashback
to the Bloomingdale's Cosmetics Department

Back then, in New York City, visiting my sister
at her job, I had the security camera feeling
didn't belong anywhere at all in posh Bloomies 
now I was feeling that again.
And the people at the party were laughing. 

The laughter was large, out of control
like the fireplace and the color in the room
and the snow covering the house like 
blanket over everyone for the night, 
but the laughter was kind. 

The bartender came over to me
told me I'd eaten the Potpourri. 

And as the laughter went onI looked around the room 
and saw that the suits had left
they had let their hair down too far,  
had to go home and do some shampooing and combing.

Now there was a circle around the bar, around me, 
and a line of food ran through the circle -
pink ham and brown turkey and white clouds 
of mashed potatoes and bright green beans

Someone asked me how I felt now? 

"I love this party. I always feel at home 
with homosexuals and Jews and women
and you black guys over there." 

This stopped the laughter cold and
the fire almost went out. 

"I think that was awkward," I said, 
and the fire came back a little. 
Also, the laughter. 

"So, how is that you feel at home with us?
asked a hot woman by the fireplace. 

I looked around the room and out the window 
a blizzard out there, the flames in the fireplace 
red and yellow, hot and relaxed. 

"I guess because I think you've all felt 
shit on at one time or another 
by the straight white suits, and though 
I am a straight white, I'm not in a suit, 
like those guys that were here earlier. Also,
they wouldn't have eaten the Potpourri."

The bartender, black, leaning on the bar,
and on his boyfriend, who was lighting a Menorah, 
smiled at me and popped a cork on champagne 
passing the bottle. 

"You know, of course, that 
the straight white suits get shit on, too.
But...we get what you mean, yeah everybody?"

Everybody toasted that. Except me; 
was back at the Potpourri bowl 
wondering how I ate it, but not ashamed. 

The bartender's boyfriend waved at me,
"Hey, you want a Patchouli on the rocks? 
With a twist of Potpourri?" 

The laughter from this, 
including mine
practically blew out the fire. 

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