The hotel

I’m hoping it’s not still there
the jazz age hotel near Bourbon Street.
Perhaps there never was a white marbled entrance
an all-glass and gold rimmed foyer
and bar room on the left serving lime soaked gins.
There had to have been a pianist fingering
upbeat trad by day and the creamiest
low-down notes as the sun sank.

We ate oysters. You’d always insist
on slitting the valves. Like a sprung butterfly
the gnarled shells parted and holding them
over our drinks, I’d watch the salty liquid drip, drip.
“Liquor for liquor” our toast – a silly pun
the kind lovers make up between them
shutting out the world.

Surely there was finer dining up above
vanishing lines of balconies open to the street.
I loved the louche Louisiana nights, perfumed with cigar smoke
and sweet cloying flowers. Always that je-ne-sais-quoi
undertow, an occult thrill of something about to happen.
And then there were the bedrooms.

This far from our union, thoughts wander away.
Out into the courtyard amongst sounds of water
ice and glass. A neat scattering of wrought iron tables
and deep shade foliage. I must have sat there often,
often alone, writing poetry and letters home
pondering eternity.

Playing tricks with memory for this week’s photo prompt from the Sunday Muse. (Image by Romain Thiery ~ Abandoned in an old forgotten villa in France)