Traces of tiredness excavate deep into his skin,
Daily, as I enter with a volatile smile, weekly,
In search of my dose of earthly blood, pretending
I am blind to my perception, neglecting my intuition.
Assumptions lead to consider he’s always had one
Too many, and perhaps something more, should I guess
An alkaloid passing off as his friend, allowing him to keep
Going, beyond his natural forces and strength.
He’s ageing prematurely, worries and silver curls
For taxes and suppliers, a runny nose and a bloated belly,
Four years of activity, complots and conspiracy,
Courting customers who vary, trading loyalty for markdowns.
Experience acquired by the day, market research,
Watching the big shots being relieved, treating debts
By way of mathematical games as he pays
For each and every one of his mistakes.
His little dog assumes his likes, long grey hair
Covering his eyes, not to see, the infamy.
For that particular rum you can only ask Velier,
He sets the price, no bargains, no payables, barely any gain.
On the black market however, other stories are told.
Creative Naples, its entrepreneurs and financial guards
Guide you from depots to highways exchanging farewells
At the tollbooth. Your risk, your gloom, your despair.
The rum in his car boot costs less but is the same,
Same brand, same bottle, same taste, had to pass through Velier.
Nervous as a reluctant crook, his required foxiness impedes
Timid tears from rolling down his cheeks and give in.
As he questions the rules of the illegitimate system,
Cursing those deprived of scruples, dwelling
With notions of honesty and integrity, he too compelled
To evasion to merely survive,
His conclusion resolves in a simple explanation,
“If you are willing to give up morals, honour and passion
You can too attempt to succeed
In the wine bar industry.”
[Featured painting: Prohibition Pour by Cara Livorio]