My hands are busy with today,
but my thoughts hang back
in the humid air of a deceptive
yesterday; to dinner and the jungle heat
congealed under umbrellas,
stained with the residue of city traffic,
too loud and too close for significant
atmosphere to stand any chance
in factoring urban style.
Paris, it wasn't, but the setting suggested
the delusional coolness of a sidewalk café.
The invisible sultriness that had seduced
the day forced rivulets of sweat
from even the chic-est brows tucked beneath
the shaded shadow of the backdropped skyscraper.
Heat had the upper hand, and with attitude,
flipped off the advancing breeze from the lake;
defeated, it proffered nothing more
than the stale breath of a probing lover.
The haricots verts were passable,
the whitefish with pesto-laced orzo -
commendable. The coffee? Ah, the coffee
was an invisible accompaniment
to a parody of authentic New York cheesecake.
It was a one sip, one bite affair, exchanged
for an iceless margarita in deference
to the science of cooling the body
with room temperature libations.
Jose winked from the glass
as I settled back in my chair
and began to paint a self portrait
for other people's minds.
It's what a poet does
on the avenue in Chicago,
in the heat, in July;
eat, drink and imagine