Saturday, May 07, 2011

THE BUKOWSKI IN YOU

When the last pile of chips
gets shipped the other way,
when your wallet gapes
like the mouth of
a two-coated man prone
on a park bench;
what else is there to do
but stagger out of
the Taj Mahal's poker room
and return to the shadows
of an empty womb,
then curl up like
the last macaroni
stuck to a paper plate?
You sense even the women
cleaning under the tables
and dumping the trash's last odors
wouldn't sweep you
into their dusty pans.
The red deck, the blue deck,
the shuffle machine,
have conspired to
make you feel like
the darkness under
the dealer's manicured nails,
his Rolex stopped to watch.
Damn. Damn. Damn.
Everything you touch stutters.
You can't remember
what singing sounded like
before the Ace of Hearts
punctured your last lung,
can't feel your buddy
tapping your shoulder
asking "How much you down"?
You remember the elevator
ride to your room,
39 floors of sunk stomach
before the white scowl
of a towel spread across
the bathroom floor.
Suppose you were nothing
but a hand towel
in a $49 motel?
Suppose you lived
to lick beads of brightness
from a working girl's back,
but all you had
was parched lips
and a swollen tongue?
That's why whiskey
clings to the bottle,
slight burn in the beginning,
then oak smooth and
polished as an expensive casket,
that's why when
the last card turns,
whatever you hear
sounds like a bullet.
More so if you dig
digging in moist earth.
Even more so, if
you're a not a gardener
or a man in a straw hat
wanding the beach for beeps.
You're addicted to
the dance of the Blue deck,
but also to the way
the Red deck parts like
a pair of painted lips.
You're addicted to
to knowing that even
a gypsy psychic
can't find your card first,
no matter how far she
follows a palm's
rugged grooves
like wood grain.
You're addicted to
knowing the cards love
no one
but the next hands
to hold them.
Is there anything
sexier than
putting it all-in and
having the moment
Morse code thru your veins?
Anything sexier
than the way
desperation's dress
hugs her hips ?
That's why you return,
why you tease your chair
to the table's edge
and post a blind bet,
why you peel the corner
of your hole cards
like they're prosperity's
last pair
of good panties.
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