Restaurant Chez Ordinaire

Welcome.
This is the “Restauraunt Chez Ordinaire”,
a place where
the customer is always right.
Have you reserved a seat?
Ah, yes, you seem to meet
the status quo.
You only have to wait
for someone else to go.

And while you wait,
enjoy the ambience
and have a drink.
I don’t think this will take too long.

You told me times were hard
and you weren’t quite happy with your life
and had not achieved your dreams as yet,
so just turn your head
and look a little to the left.

See the guy
who sits alone
and only has the salad
on his plate.
He’s struggled hard,
and spent his world
to just sit
and wait.

Note his stature
and how he speaks
and eats his food,
but don’t worry
and don’t stare
because we don’t want him
to think we know he’s there.

He looks black to me
and gay
and poor
and old,
the wandering Jew.
I think he’s even stupid, too.

If you don’t repeat it
then I’ll tell you
a secret.
He is the ancient of the world,
just here for show.
But we’ll have his table soon.

Oh, don’t be really shocked,
just seem to be appropriately.
Because those things we’ve made him into
won’t rub off on you.

So don’t defend him
or get to know him.
We wouldn’t want to think we’re wrong.
I mean, how could you maintain your self respect
if there wasn’t that stranger to look down on.

Oh good, the restaurant has cleared a way
and service for that man has stopped.
Oh, he acts confused like all those freaks
who thought a place like this was theirs,
not knowing only you’re allowed
to reserve a table at the “Restaurant Chez Ordinaire”.

a poem
by
Paul Bourgeois
NS, Canada, 22 April 1995

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