The neighbourhood gymnasium
still smells of rancid sneakers,
of teenage sweat and coaches yelling.
Brown, navy blue and beige
and hand-made suits
prevail today. No red –
good Lord, don’t tempt the devil!
They wait in queue, politely,
while the Mayor-cum-MP
flutters around, greets friends,
shakes hands, talks of the weather.
The younger couples babble
and show off well-groomed kids
who run around in frilly blouses,
pleated skirts and sailor shirts
like glossy Laura-Ashley-ads.
Mostly, though, it's old and ageing money;
ladies in their cream-white pearls
that gleam on wrinkled throats,
their husbands’ Hugo Boss-rimmed goggles
sparkling as brightly as their flawless smiles –
the local dentists all drive Porsches.
Their choice is narrowed down
from ten to one, the undisputed candidate,
whose self-awareness holds up heads
for fear of revolution floats
like a dazed ghost in smelly rags
that stumbles through the Ritz.
Some flip through online guides
on state-of-the-art smartphones,
considering a villa in Sankt Moritz,
in Luxemburg or on a Channel Island,
figuring out how to claim
a Green Card for the state of Delaware.
Others keep faith in their ability
to know someone who knows someone
who might become Someone,
in case things turn out bad.
And each time the assessor says
the ritual “A voté!”, they fold their hands
and pray that nothing ever changes.