The Wheel of Fortune
The barman asks if you’d like the usual
when nothing is usual about this place.
I have never been here;
I have always been here.
The people in the mirror are dead
and the best words have already been spoken.
At the back of the room, lonely red Naugahyde booths
sit patiently for their turn to take flight.
The pastry chef pipes funnel cakes through the air vents
setting off a slow-motion hitching of booths
to spokes; and spokes to hubs; hubs to drive rim
transforming the structure into a towering Wheel.
Ladies and gentlemen, Step right up
All eyes to the sky!
We climb in. Tiny lights flash
while a Wurlitzer waltz
reminds us of who we once were.
At the top, a panoramic view unfolds:
Burmese peacocks and white stags oddly staged
alongside an ancient Roman Forum.
Shelley and Byron wave to us
while they contemplate the ruins of the self.
Why do you never leave? they ask.
You answer, I am the genesis of Hollywood:
A drink and a steak are all that matter now.
We make three more rotations,
one for the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
before exiting single file off the platform
across steel grate steps
back to our dinner table.
You appeal to the forgotten source of life to wash your hands
while the waiter offers a polite explanation,
Abundans cautela non nocet
but a piece of each of us leaves a permanent mark
even though your eyes never looked into mine.
From a Park Bench
Pelicans don’t nest here
and that’s not Sainte-Sulpice.
The Protestants are comfortably situated
while a line of storms barrel across the north.
“Do I tell Mark I kissed you tonight?”
Wrap yourself in a blanket
under a flaming sugar maple.
Here comes Jesus in the bike lane.
I think I can see my breath.
Diane Martini Richard lives in Minneapolis, MN and has recently begun writing poetry as she sunsets her career in Human Resources. In addition to poetry, she is also working on a memoir based on her father’s letters from WWII; and various essays on beauty and nostalgia. Although she works with engineers, she dreams about goat-drawn carriages and murky swimming pools. Diane has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Minnesota; and an executive MBA from the University of St. Thomas.