Why is there a little French restaurant at the Circus?
Everything else is so ecstatically garish, so 1812 Overture climactic,
and the restaurant has only a little sign, black and white,
It isn’t even one of those signs which is quiet because it happens to have been written on antique wood from the throne of Louis XIV; it was cut in a neat circle by a bandsaw, having started life as part of a now-abandoned thrift-store shelf. It was painted by hand.
The real big shots, the fancy people, the ones who come to the circus in a five-piece-suit as if they’re likely, at any time, to be flown out by helicopter to deal with a hostile merger which threatens a valuable one-sixteenth of the price of a share of stock,
The Beautiful People, who know they’re beautiful because they look just like photos in an old-time fashion magazine,
though they’re worse conversationalists–
Oh, they all make jokes about slumming it,
and they eat their funnel cake with the attitude of
rugged adventurers taking on an unplumbed cavern –
yeah, they walk past this place a thousand times.
It’s dark inside, not uncomfortably, just candle-lit and dim; were this any other part of the Carnivale,
you’d assume you were in for a magick show, or perhaps a bit of a trick;
until you see the proprietor,
a proud man,
but not an arrogant one,
a man who serves the harshest of Regents:
constant, hand-created, repeated perfection.
It is the proprietess who greets you,
makes you at home,
skips a few English words in this little pocket-Universe of Paris,
and even if you are French,
you don’t know how this will play out;
as the chef and the maitre-d’
join hands at the front of the restaurant,
wait for just a moment to let the conversation quiet at its own piece,
married these forty years, in a low tenor and a high alto voice,
they sing, unaccompanied,
“La Vie En Rose”,
and all is roses.