About Antiques

They’re bloodhounds, you know.
They can smell you from miles away.
Above the heaps of moldering dime novels,
Beyond the scintillating array of Tiffany lampshades,
They rise quickly and soundlessly
From behind oak and beveled glass countertops to greet you,
Even before you have a chance to take in your surroundings
They’ve caught you in a web of conversation.
Shark-like, their dark assessing eyes sweep over you.

Some are subtle.
They’ll retreat to back rooms to let you wander.
Meanwhile, they smoke a cigarette and pour
A cup of coffee to get that caffeine edge.
There in that Sanctum Sanctorum they’ll sit at
Their computer terminals,
Type up a listing of current market values,
Pluck from the shelf the newest glossy covered price guide
And turn back the front cover in anticipation of the kill.

Others are more insidious.
Blending into the shadows,
They pretend to be marking new merchandise
While behind drooping lids
Their eyes to watch your every move.
Each one of your ah’s of appreciation,
Every timid touch
Registers a dollar sign.

There must be something in our eyes,
Some inner light flashing brightly,
Broadcasting exactly how much we have to spend
And how much we need to spend,

But I get great deals.
The stuffed baby alligator
Complete with rhinestone eyes and hula skirt was a real find.
So was the Felix the Cat clock with moving eyes and wagging tail
And the Century Book of Facts looked really impressive
With its gilt-stamped lettering and leather cover;
Never mind the facts are from 1903.

Somehow they just don’t seem as impressive on my shelf at home.
But each new acquisition brings me a step closer.
So what if I’m down to peanut butter and crackers three times a day.
And who cares if there’s only a small footpath to get in and out of my apartment?

But that’s enough talk.
You’ve got to go now_
I’m expecting a call from a dealer.
Don’t bark your shin on the way out.
Watch out for that claw-footed table_
It’s an antique.