Sunday, November 14, 2004

All the Pink Per Diems Plastered on the French Door

In the crush I saw him smoking outside. The jazz trio
pumping out a bass line, the fortune
teller in the back room saying, You have
travelled a long distance. The Mexican
writer, who looked broken on the ferry
earlier, is ebullient and saucy in his
orange shirt. I saunter over
to the poet smoking outside. There is something we are trying
to do. Trying to love each other through
the glass door. He pulls at his zipper.
I nod. He rubs his fingers together. I slap
a twenty on the door.
What are you doing.
He needs more money.
He is nodding and rubbing his fingers.
Suddenly four pink fifties are
whipped out of wallets and pressed
against the glass. These are fifties
we get every day in Vancouver -- our
per diem fifties.
He drops his pants. To tremendous
But when he opens the door the fifties
Later, draped over the bed, drinking
out the minibar, the international
authors admit it was wrong to haul
away the pink per diem bills. It
was wrong, they feel chagrin, and they
are willing to live with chagrin.


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