the Party

The party unfolds without delay
time's a memory we all can share
it's 1909, conjure Rousseau 
le peintre moderne, notre ami Henri

onboard that leaky boat 
the battered  Bateau-Lavoir is sailing 
down market et Montmartre a foxy plan 
is hatched in the nimble le Lapin Agile 

invite everyone, tip them off spare nobody
'cept of course poor Henri, he
the tribute the guest of honour
stalks tigers in city parks

Alice Gertrude Pablo Harriet et al
dreaming Paris herself would be there 
Andre Georges Apollinaire Kiki 
Fernande screams more bread

our guest d'honneur floats on aires
the cast assembled intends mayhem
how did this soiree, le diner grow to legend
oh dear, Sonia later claims as hers

inevitably the galleon begins to sway
too tight to swing the cat, she creaks
hundreds spill and some lay bare
like wine, splashed in gutters too

looking up at stars that fateful night
from the very start, proceedings fell apart 
spontaneous music erupts new dances
shouted over hollering laughter, who cares

by Act two the game was nearly up
songs and speeches drag on too long 
Guillaume's loud farting barely softens
Marie lurching, face-firsting dessert

none really remember Act three or more
who danced with whom and what gems
passed lips or when leaving whose shoes
unmatched, point up splayed in the air 

after all this, one epilogue can be drawn
one hundred years slip-by and the din
can be heard and for some 
time stands still long enough to sing 

Viva Le Douanier

image: The Dinner 1909 / (detail) oil and synthetic polymer paint on linen on board JS



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