Michael Rothenberg


Photo by Ira Cohen




Sitting in Taverne Maître Kanter drinking Perrier
Looking for where I'm on the map. Rain drops from red awning
On umbrella. I'm treated well here. Waitress and
Manager my age or about are polite and friendly
I was the college student they ignored. Long hair, counting my change
Dodging the scam. Now pretty women are younger than me or married
I've lived long enough already. I want nothing more than to settle down
Momo may have to throw me out but I'll try to leave before
I outlive my welcome . . .

I'm suspicious of anything easy to say
Toenails of the small dog tapping on the tile floor above my bed
Car horns blowing a block away
I have dinner at a friend's house, one hour to get there, one hour to burn
We went to elementary school together
She moved here 25 years ago with her French husband
She'll ask me about my life, I'll recall "Death In Venice"
And tell her I'm doing great, have found my place in money and art
As for love, well, I'm about to be recently divorced
I'll lie about being happy, be entertaining, allow her French
Husband to be superior in his own home and
She'll be philosophical. She'll have forgotten who she was
Then I'll take a taxi to Noisy-Champs. The drugs of my youth will
Exist outside my better judgement. My pondering on suicide will be
Familiar and trivial. I'll read a Russian fairy tale and note
How far my lot has fallen from the plot
It was romantic while it lasted. And romantic because it came to an end
Motor scooters shoot raspberries down rue JJ Rousseau

May 27, 1998