Place Your Bets

3 03 2010

i,

look down the long nose of death
and see how every blink and every breath
are decimals in the fraction, chips in the game
each a chance we take; each a faltering flame

but when death hits you with his poker stare
even though you are here and he is there
his cold gaze brings you to the table and the wager
is fixed in blood. you cannot plagairize the signature

when his cold toes creep up your back like a debt
all promises disappear except the ones you’ve kept
we all know the deck is stacked against us, he leers
once you see his pupils it’s your hopes against your fears

token days and token years don’t stack up to the moment
he goes from charming and distant to present and intense
his breath on your neck is a stimulant like smoke cocaine
look him in the eye. We don’t pass this way again.

ii.

the patient seducer
saws with a dull knife
and the persistence of habits

he is not a profligate but a miser
with actuarial charts backed up by
the double zero and snake eyes

if he can’t get you with foolsmate
he will tax you till he eats your last crust
he figures he has the house edge

he knows he will win in the end if
only by attrition. He is a most charming dancer.
You can’t kill him unless you are close.

Your knife is as short as your life.
Get an extra three inches on the internet
and that’s still not long enough.

when you rob the casino, it’s high living
till you are caught. Joys of birth and marriage
miseries of separation, divorce.

when you tease him his laugh is confident,
knowing, calculating. He doesn’t have to calculate,
He owns you.

Which is more important, your liver
or your hard-drive? Place your bets, it
doesn’t make sense until it’s too late.

Place your bets

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