Easter Buffet With the Hoi-Polloi

I attended the fanciest of brunches on offer
at the city’s most reputable establishment


some folk here are ‘known’ I was curtly advised
but I saw few there who knew of themselves

and the joy and excitement and gaze-worthy plush
soon gave way to a feeling of biding my nausea

no glow at my table of real human converse
just dreary discussing of well-studied menus

and no interest was in vogue of anything interesting
just wan smiles warning of oversharing

their protocols were dense as a thicket to trek
and the sole user manual was endless repeating

no joy but joyless and no anger but swallowing
no breeching the hull of their prosperous affect

okay if one mentions some new device at market
or remarks how the hotel’s new carpets succeed

but swift sanctions of deafening silence enrobe
any mention of world or of crises or beauty

a faux pas too, a novice’s misstep, I learned —
to chat up the servants our feast attending

but give me those workers, these are my people
whose eyes flash alertness, watchful for whims

tracking rows of diners like air traffic controllers
more water, drier wine, perhaps pomegranate coulis

sacrificing their easters to minister the wealthy
who never a meaningful gratitude exert

smartly dapper in their resto black-white regalia
nary a gauche notepad aids their memory feats

yes these are the ones I declare of substance
the servile, the active, the wakened, the real

I make allegiance with you, the earners of wages
perhaps nabbing a french fry enroute to cello rehearsal

financing your dreams, still ideal in cold cities
while the privileged dodder in consumptive infancy

riddle me what confers on a person true elegance
nothing if not able to see the person at their elbow

_______RS

[ Painting: snippet from Jules Grun, “The Dinner Party”, 1913 ]  (link)

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