50 years ago now
Truman Capote gave the best party ever
The Black and White Ball was
Credited, I say, with breaking the old order
He invited everybody
And Everybody came
Moguls and novelists
Divas and divines
The inspiring and the almost expired
Urbans and provincials in the same clutch
Capote married Art and Politics and Money
Or at least forced them to fuck
In one large room decorated with nothing
But candles and balloons; he
Served spaghetti and chicken hash at midnite
Published his invitation list in The New York Times
Can you imagine it?
Attending his loving swans
Dancing with Lauren Bacall
His red lips, almost! even with her famous breasts
Of course there were not many people of color feted
Just Gordon Parks and Harry Belafonte and the Ellisons: Ralph and Fanny
Who called themselves “the black of the Black and White Ball”
I’m sure a few were passing too; Art has always
Participated in masquerade and knows the rules
Better than anybody
So what old order did they break?
Capote the outsider the iconoclast comic but
Somehow malevolent figure of surprise-who
Could manufacture charm
But had no loyalties
Do you know he inculcated a grande vision
Of the outside world in his granny’s closeted kitchen?
That he started planning this party
Before he entered puberty
Always a little darling manipulator
With sharp dolls teeth
50 years ago, it was.
Did I say that?
How old were you, approximately 0?
I was 12, dreaming of your dark eyes
Your firm refusal
Your specific kiss