Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What may be

On Poker and Peppers

. . . things that grew loud when the street grew empty,

and breaths that let themselves be breathed
to freight a human argument,
and sidelong glances in the midst of things . . .
Jorie Graham

Never had much interest
in being smooth
like the skin of a pepper
or slick as the seeds inside,
(not because I didn't want to be hot)
but because like
a cayenne red lipstick,
slick wears off too quick.
Never minded looking naive,
it causes the slicksters
to show their hands.
We all make different choices,
but my friends are the ones
who tell me the truth
about the strength of my hand.

Perhaps there was a naive boy
with a dream.
And when I ask you
on the phone
if we will ever pick
cayenne peppers together,
you say "Maybe."
All gardeners know that maybes
can be like cayennes on the vine,
this one green as a Yes,
that one yellow as Perhaps,
the other bright red as No.
Gardeners choose
which peppers get picked
and by whom.

You could have said
that you don't pick peppers
with poker players,
but you said "Maybe."
And maybe I'm just a boy
with a naive dream,
maybe only slicksters get
to pick those peppers,
maybe somebody bluffed
(which is part of the game),
maybe they forgot
they would have to
turn over their hand,
maybe one day they'll realize
how much it costs
to get called . . .
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