Nightclub , by Billy Collins
|You are so beautiful and I am a fool|
to be in love with you
is a theme that keeps coming up
in songs and poems.
There seems to be no room for variation.
I have never heard anyone sing
I am so beautiful
and you are a fool to be in love with me,
even though this notion has surely
crossed the minds of women and men alike.
You are so beautiful, too bad you are a fool
is another one you don't hear.
Or, you are a fool to consider me beautiful.
That one you will never hear, guaranteed.
For no particular reason this afternoon
I am listening to Johnny Hartman
whose dark voice can curl around
the concepts on love, beauty, and foolishness
like no one else's can.
It feels like smoke curling up from a cigarette
someone left burning on a baby grand piano
around three o'clock in the morning;
smoke that billows up into the bright lights
while out there in the darkness
some of the beautiful fools have gathered
around little tables to listen,
some with their eyes closed,
others leaning forward into the music
as if it were holding them up,
or twirling the loose ice in a glass,
slipping by degrees into a rhythmic dream.
Yes, there is all this foolish beauty,
borne beyond midnight,
that has no desire to go home,
especially now when everyone in the room
is watching the large man with the tenor sax
that hangs from his neck like a golden fish.
He moves forward to the edge of the stage
and hands the instrument down to me
and nods that I should play.
So I put the mouthpiece to my lips
and blow into it with all my living breath.
We are all so foolish,
my long bebop solo begins by saying,
so damn foolish
we have become beautiful without even knowing it.
I see your face before me, (Howard Dietz- Arthur Schwartz)
In a world of glitter and glow
In a world of tinsel and show
The unreal from the real thing is hard to know
I discovered somebody who
Could be truly worthy and true
Yes, I met my ideal thing when I met you
I see your face before me
Crowding my every dream
There is your face before me
You are my only theme
It doesn't matter where you are
I can see how fair you are
I close my eyes and there you are
If you could share the magic
Yes, if you could see me too
There would be nothing tragic
In all my dreams of you
Would that my love could haunt you so
Knowing I want you so
I can't erase your beautiful face before me