Hobble Creek Review
Hobble Creek Review
Michael Diebert
The Shops at Caesar’s Palace


Faux canal, faux gondola rowed by a faux gondolier,
faux wedding, faux vows vowed in a faux gazebo,
sugar rush of the insoluble placebo,
faux atoms floating in a faux atmosphere.

In the café, we wolfed a Caesar salad.
I dwelled on that gray-faced lady who’d won
five thousand dollars after playing just one,
so we ducked into the shops at Caesar’s Palace

and bought with our hearts new suits and shoes.
We felt the pounding of a construction project.
We watched a robot princess genuflect
before a heatless fire and pray to Zeus.

We walked beneath a simulated sky
which darkened as the day darkened—art
imitating life.  Only the cruel and hard
have learned to defuse the stimuli,

walk unfazed down Las Vegas Boulevard,
pass right by the giant Celine Dion,
write it up as just so much neon.
Inside the store like a deck of cards,

we bought a bottle of beer each.
Were we sad or happy to be leaving?
Were we glad we’d come?  Were we breathing?
Would it be easier if we were rich?

I can’t speak for her, but I sought credentials—
not the jackpot, exactly, but a certain carriage,
chutzpah, confidence, dumb courage,
the myopic swagger of the presidential.

We toasted.  To fountains and piped-in strings.
To promise.  To the desert swelling with sound.
To the girl wobbling past us in a wedding gown
and high heels, crying, wide-eyed, singing.
Michael Diebert is from Kingsport, Tennessee, the Model City. He
teaches writing and literature at Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta, and
serves as poetry editor for
The Chattahoochee Review.  Recent poems
have appeared in
Southern Poetry Review, The Monarch Review, and
The Meadowland Review. Poems are forthcoming in an anthology of
Georgia poets to be published by Texas Review Press in 2012.  Another
recent poem has recently been nominated for Best of the Net.