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Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Romani Inn Rituals

the owner of the Romani Inn
dips the end of her cigar
in some red table wine, large fleshy lips
suck the sweet aromatic Catalan
off the crisp-firm Havana,

lightning strikes a match's hiss,
and there begins a familiar burning -
a teasing inhale-exhale;
puffs of smoke that caress faithfully
as any well paid Cuban gigolo,

she spits a smile, flashing a
glint of light off dental gold,
and the nightly rituals begin:

fat fingers dip olive bread
in a plate of crushed garlic
and grape vinegar, lips smack
away at the Lorca Red - matador eyes
guard the black curtained entrance;

until the curtain parts her interlude,
and her large frame awakens, folds of skin
folded into as many of her years,
slides off her bow-legged stool
with surprising snake-like sinuosity.

* * *

guitars imported from Andalucia
and the flamenco wail
a eulogy of welcome,
in this haven of old urges
soaked with regret and brine,

woes are blunt instruments
dragged through this nightly pause,
a stopping place where
confirmed revellers
drown apologetically,

drinking sweet and feeling dry,
they've broken every vow
before she even approaches,

"Welcome to my tavern,
welcome to the Romani,"

she ushers in the usual guests,
becoming an invitation
to forget all far flung memory.

* * *

age is an offending shuffle
in her grandiose pose,
as she goes back to the dark
head of hard bread left
to soften in less than virgin oil,

but time hung on the wall
catches her eye, and each night
before she goes back to her
dying fire in a terracotta ashtray,
she stares for a moment

at the mouldy, sickly-sepia
photographs of a young girl
among rushing waterfalls,

her eyes browse the images,
counting capsized cargoes
as the heaving room fills
with similar secrets trying
to succumb a slumberdeath,

and she tries to calculate
in a sigh how much wealth
she's lost from there to here,
but realises her tear ducts
are far to old too cry.

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