Paddy, you are expected at my house this evening at sunset,
That is, if you think you can stretch out your legs comfortably
On the old fashioned couch that my local carpenter designed for me,
And you can put up with a modest meal served on plain plates.
The wine we will drink is Second Consulate Taurain,
Poured off at Villa Petrinum, near Sinessa,
Below the salt flats of Minturnae.
Or you have a better Vintage to offer?
If so, send it by your boy.
If not, you will have to take orders form me.
My windows have been gleaning for days now, just for your sake
My furniture cleaned up and set to rights.
Drop everything. Those airy ambitions, that drive to make still more money.
Tomorrow is Yar A’dua’s birthday – we’re all excused to sleep late,
To stretch the night with copious talk.
So I will begin the rites, the scattering of flowers.
The drinking – and let you think me unhinged if you want –
What wonders drink can perform!
It unseals the heart,
Tells hopes to turn into facts,
Makes cowards fight,
Takes weight off worried minds,
Teaches new arts.
I take it upon myself to vouch for the following – and do so gladly;
That no tattered linen of mine,
No dirty napkin,
Will make you turn up your nose in disgust;
That the cups and plates reflect your image like mirrors,
That no one is present who will gossip outside about what is said inside.
I’ll invite Michael Jackson and Madonna to meet you,
Add R-Kelly to the list, unless a prior engagement or a slyer girl detains him.
There are enough places for your ‘shades’ (or bodyguards as you might choose to call them)
But when goats get too close together, the air’s a bit thick.
You’ve only to write back how many you want them to be,
Then drop everything: the client you’re supposed to see,
Your business. Sneak out the back. Come to me!