We walk with heads back
through the old casino at Monte Carlo,
watching the ghosts of old money
wring their hands as they hover
near arches and cornices
wrought in the gentility of gold.
Around us the fast dreams of fruit machines
fall in a silver deluge,
but we hear the barking roll
of the roulette wheel,
smell the clash of Chanel and Havana
and crisp cards call us to the back
for blackjack and baccarat.
Under a languid haze
tuxedos and silk taffeta
cling to an old Europe
of grace and danger.
But gambling holds no interest
when the car parks gleam with sports cars,
lolling in the lamplight like pampered pets.
We walk down a cobbled street
to the yacht-filled bay.
From this jungle of affluence
the sounds of pearls rattling and Dom Perignon popping
float out on the perfect night.
Riviera-bound, the bus winds up the road
where the Hollywood Princess died
and, as though on cue,
the full moon emerges from a cloud
to anoint the kingdom of fantasy.
POET'S NOTE: The poet wishes to acknowledge The Press in whose pages a version of this poem first appeared.