On Visiting the Biltmore

62 bedrooms for a family of three.

A dining room bigger than the footprint of my house.

The view from the master’s suite alone worth every untaxed penny.

And I could live in that library.

 

I push 1-4, following the directive of the blueprint map, and learn

            the red and white chess set once belonged

to Napolean (Bonaparte, not Jones, the first chair trumpet player in

my high school whose parents had an unhealthy obsession

          with European history).

 

Two Renoirs hang in a guest bedroom.

The masterpieces in the mister’s and missus’

          (separate) rooms are commissioned family portraits —

                    Grandfather Commodore,

          Father, Mister, Missus, and Baby, of course.

 

                    Such obscene luxury.

                    Such gross indulgence.

                    Such overdone opulence.

 

          How I wish it was mine.

 

I’d close it to the public (though how would they know how

          magnificent I am without the audio tour?) 

and rehire the maids and valets and stablemen

and gardeners and coachmen and chefs. 

          Family Christmas wouldn’t be at mother’s anymore.

 

I’d treat the help fairly

and bus in orphans for Easter egg hunts and Halloween hayrides.

          The papers would print stories of my largesse,

and then plead for the exclusive photographs

          of the inside

                    of my house.

 

By 1-9 I’m pissed.

What are all these people doing in my house with 62 bedrooms

          for a family of three?

                    Me and you and Me. 

 

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