last escort

Poem #18 from tuesday night at emile’s (Final poem).

Back to: tuesday night at emile’s – Introduction


she is walking away now
has observed him taking his leave
from the restaurant
followed him to his home

studying him
to establish a measure in her mind
of the ways he has changed
since that first encounter

she remembers it well
his face
his voice
the deep consternation
her appearance caused

and the differences visible in him
on the evening he had confronted her
oh yes
she denied it innocently
and he
poor fool
believed her
such a gullible man
but a sweetheart for all that

she has watched him
from concealment
on more than one occasion
since then

this will be the last time
a kind of farewell
in the form of an invisible escort
to his door
but she will not forget

even now
unbidden
an attar of those red blooms
already long pressed into keepsake
plays in the air
about her
a sentient reminder
of the man from emile’s


© Frank Prem 2003

My thanks to everyone who has taken time to read tuesday night at emile’s and The Book of Evenings. It’s been my pleasure to present them, and I hope you’ve enjoyed them.

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you can’t take them with you

Poem #17 from tuesday night at emile’s

Back to: tuesday night at emile’s – Introduction


can’t take them with you

you can’t take them with you

sometimes you want to love them
all night long
sometimes you want to keep them
when they ought to be gone
sometimes

you want to keep them

but you can’t take them with you

on the days when you reach them
the days when they reach you
you really want to keep them
pressed in an album
like a rose flavoured prize
the perfume to let you have them
all over again
but you can’t
take them with you
so

leave them standing in the aisle
with your voice in their heads
filling up their senses
from the songs that you sang
in a promise they’d be with you
wherever you might go
a little lie to hold them
till the end of the show when

you can’t take them with you

you can’t take them with you

no


© Frank Prem 2003

Tuesday Night at Emile’s Poem #18:

coming home

Poem #16 from tuesday night at emile’s

Back to: tuesday night at emile’s – Introduction


monsieur
it is so good to see you
such a long time
apologies
emile was not able to greet monsieur
when he entered
for the unfamiliar table

the fare has been to the satisfaction
of monsieur?
the waiter attentive?
bon

monsieur will drink the coffee
with emile
non non
it will be so

monsieur has been missed
emile often wonders
what has become
of him
why he no longer
is a visitor to the establishment

has monsieur been away?
is he quite well?
he has perhaps been ill?

tcha
it is better
to not speak of such matters

emile remembers last time he saw monsieur
so very worried
and then monsieur is gone
into smoke
such as the foolish chef
emile has had to employ
might make
oh if monsieur only knew
of emile’s trials
the staff
he would shed tears of rage
together with emile

monsieur appears better now
though changed
emile is a sensitive man
can comprehend when the scar
has been placed upon the soul
but monsieur is back
and it is wonderful

monsieur
even the cicatrix is
in the end
only a marker of the past
non?

next week monsieur
the usual table
emile will ensure no other
has the privilege
to sit at the table of monsieur
non

monsieur
emile says welcome

after such passage of time

welcome welcome


© Frank Prem 2003

Tuesday Night at Emile’s Poem #17: you can’t take them with you

who is he (2)

Poem #15 from tuesday night at emile’s

Back to: tuesday night at emile’s – Introduction


in a place of endings
does he seek rebirth
among these stone-bordered ghosts
among shadows

what hope does he seek
what heart to find

he is weeping

are the tears that are falling
spilled over me
what does he mean

this man is dangerous
makes me responsible
for the way that he feels
the state of his mind

why does he cry
what did I do
what should I do

what have I done to him

what is he doing

to me


© Frank Prem 2003

Tuesday Night at Emile’s Poem #16: coming home

a connection

Poem #14 from tuesday night at emile’s

Back to: tuesday night at emile’s – Introduction


hello mama

his approach has been along the gravel path
beneath trees and open sky
by turns

he has meandered
to take in the old headstones
contrast them with newer trends
a dithering indirect approach

but at last he is here

the shirt is pink and creased
but at least clean
he has found his jacket
attempted a tie
although crooked

his face is more shaven than not

the posy of flowers
a vibrant array of bright colour
just as he remembers her to have been
when he was still small

hello mama

he is uncomfortable
not knowing if he should stand or sit
or even perhaps kneel

settles for a stoop
that turns into a sit
after he has found a small weed to pull

he is unaware in his awkwardness
of a cloaked figure
slowing for a moment
to watch him
before continuing on the path
to some personal destination
among the untroubled at their rest

it’s been a long time mama
and I’ve been lost
so so lost

his face wrinkles into creases
and tears start to fall
but now he is untroubled by them
knows he will shed a burden
believes this with all the faith
of one who has seen his first light
and knows that at last
there is a direction

as he speaks and weeps
his hand wanders
backwards and forwards
across the granite rubble atop the grave
letting the sound of stones
gently colliding against each other
punctuate his phrases
his admissions of weakness
and fall

tells of his bewilderment
at the cause
a fleeting episode that caught him so unawares
obsessed and almost drove him
to an oblivion

as the narrative progresses
the tears slow and stop
breathing comes easier
his hands are still shaking
but he knows he has passed some crucial point
hardly realises how much time has gone by
until a cool breeze
ruffles the back of his neck
to announce that it is already evening

goodbye mama

he pats the headstone
uncertainly
almost expecting a return warmth
finding only cold granite

still
it is enough
to form a connection


© Frank Prem 2003

Tuesday Night at Emile’s Poem #15: who is he (2)

crying air

Poem #13 from tuesday night at emile’s

Back to: tuesday night at emile’s – Introduction


there is a dizziness
he does not believe
it comes from wine
or lack of food
though he has drunk enough
eaten little

it is a morning thing
the over-rapid spin
of another morning

he does not rise from the bed quickly
has learnt on previous occasions
that would be an error
so he remains beneath the blanket
quite still
the same unmoving way
he sleeps though the night
blinking now to adjust to sunlight

the purpose of movement is
in any case
a moot point
for there is nothing to do
nowhere to go

when his vision has settled
the lank frame
levers feet to floor
torso upright on the edge of the bed
from which vantage
he can survey the wreckage
no not wreckage
disarray
of the place where he lives
what was his home
now more a repository
of clothes and objects strewn
of dishes unwashed
just as he is unwashed
and strewn

he feels an acute anguish at the sight
so much so wrong
every day a torture of emptiness
the like of which
he hasn’t experienced
since

not since then

how would she feel
to see him like this
this slide into dark places
when she took such pride in him
always
her perfect young man
who did what was good
what was right
made her so proud to see him
dressed well
conducted himself like a grown up
a gentleman
right from his first outings
as little more than a toddler

she would be horrified
never mind the reasons
appalled and shamed

his shoulders begin to shake
and he takes an audible gasping breath
that is more sob
than it is air


© Frank Prem 2003

Tuesday Night at Emile’s Poem #14: a connection

who is he (1)

Poem #12 from tuesday night at emile’s

Back to: tuesday night at emile’s – Introduction


who is this man
I’d like to know
to seek me in places
he has no right to at all

he was a moment
just one
long distant ago

we all have to keep moving

~

flitting through darkness
to watch him home
he seems a world full of troubles
does he believe me the cause
of the tempests and storms
that he carries inside

I meant no wrong to him
sought only for myself to survive
nothing more

I never aimed for his heart

what right has he to despair
when I did nothing to him

nothing
at all


© Frank Prem 2003

Tuesday Night at Emile’s Poem #13: crying air

and yet she looked so

Poem #11 from tuesday night at emile’s

Back to: tuesday night at emile’s – Introduction


a disaster

it was not her
he should have known

she had never seen him before
knew of no emile

thank you for the flowers
but I have to perform another set now
good luck finding your lady

no
she owned no red shoes

he knew as soon as she spoke
it could not be this one
the voice was not right

yet she looked so

he had been certain

so familiar

he must be going mad
pursuing a phantom
and for what

his life has become unrecognisable
a mess

his head aches
from the noise
of his thoughts

he has difficulty swallowing
through a lump that has formed
as though ready to

soiled
he feels somehow soiled
and cannot resist brushing
at imagined specks on his jacket

he must go home to wash
to think
this cannot go on

she was so familiar
he could have sworn

go home

stop being a fool


© Frank Prem 2003

Tuesday Night at Emile’s Poem #12: who is he (1)

sometimes it’s dancing – old fashioned tap

Poem #10 from tuesday night at emile’s

Back to: tuesday night at emile’s – Introduction


start your feet moving

tap-eta-tap-eta-tap

set your arms in motion
make it light speed and dazzle

tap-eta-tap-tapping

[CLAP]

shuffle around the issue
don’t break the rhythm
backwards is a special

[CLAP]

start another pattern
ratchet up to blinding
never stop smiling

[CLAP]

shimmy like the devil
hold eye contact
keep on dancing

[CLAP]

use the light to sparkle

[CLAP]

slip behind the smokescreen

[CLap]

don’t forget your roses

[clap]

keep on dancing

tap-eta-tap-eta

tap


© Frank Prem 2003

Tuesday Night at Emile’s Poem #11: and yet she looked so

from the man at

Poem #9 from tuesday night at emile’s

Back to: tuesday night at emile’s – Introduction


perhaps they are right
this is no way to be carrying on
but
if she is the same girl
the one that broke into his life
and stole

what

his composure

his satisfaction in an ordered life
free of petty distraction

the sense he held
of his own adequacy

if she is the same girl
he has to know

why

it had to be more than a random encounter

why did she choose him

for what purpose

what did it mean

~

the mirror
suggests a shave may be in order

it has become an effort to attend
to the small things

he was doing well enough for awhile
recovering his poise
until the concert

if it was her

he will make the effort
it may be important

~

he has backtracked
to discover the performer’s name

her name

taken steps to establish
where she will next appear

tonight he will be there
will try to see her in the break
or after the performance
he has to know

a dozen roses
lie on his bed
tightly rolled ruby buds
dark at their edges

from your friend at emile’s


© Frank Prem 2003

Tuesday Night at Emile’s Poem #10: sometimes it’s dancing – old fashioned tap