Make-Believe Ballroom: Money to Burn


In the ballroom of Waldorf-Astoria
I attend the "Million Dollar Club Conference"
where wealthy tycoons show young wannabes
how to make fortunes in stocks, real estate,
and on the Web. After the presentations
by the money masters, coffee is now
served at the tables with a jazz band
playing lively swing and salsa music.

"Do you care to dance?" the blonde lady
sitting next to me asks. "No thanks"
I reply, "Mozart is more my cup of tea."
I was so focused on the stage the whole day
and only now have a closer glimpse of her—
this blonde with bare shoulders & pearl necklace,
pink gown and gloves. She tells me of her trips
to Bali and Tahiti, how lush were the sunsets

while I'm thinking of Newton walking the shores
searching for a smooth pebble and pretty shell.
She looks me in the eyes "Why are you here?"
I tell her "After listening to these tycoons,
I just realized money will not make me happy.
Buddha was right— ending desire makes us free."
Her eyes turn away from me "How boring—
It's desire that makes the world go round!"

Just then a man in tux comes to the table,
cigarette in mouth asking her for a light.
She takes out a crisp "Ben" banknote
lighting it up, the flame close to his lips.
He whispers "She's the billionaire heiress
with money to burn." Then I realized that
unlike Tchaikovsky, I missed my chance to be
sponsored by an heiress like Madame von Meck.

                  — Peter Y. Chou
                       Los Altos Hills, 7-8-2007

Michael C. Ford's Poetry Workshop:
"Make-Believe Ballroom: Integrating imagination & music"
(15-minutes exercise from 1950 paperback cover image:
Peter B. Kyne's 1928 novel Money to Burn, Dell #467)
31st Foothill College Writers' Conference
Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, California

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© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (7-8-2007)