Warning to the Gambler

1 August 2012

The way in is through thick double doors, between foyered palms, past
elderly stewards kneading hands. Fifty-dollar notes are exchanged for
happy-go-lucky seats, silver-dint-bar-tinkling machines. They lay down
their cards, sit hunched into their rib cage; sink into a consciousness of
play and battle.
In this warning to the gambler, one sees imprisonment and little daylight.
How many gamblers have been trapped in aisled rooms littered
with cigarette ash, zoo noises, furniture oozing years of spilled gin?
How many gamblers have watched two Kings scarper into a barrel turn?
How many have seen the chips scuttle before a fall, that fraction
before a missed fortune?
I have been thinking about the injustice, the raffle prizes paltry
in their wrapping, lukewarm hash browns, that free mother’s day
cup of coffee, and the club’s mounting fortune illuminating every corner.
I want to suggest to the gambler the narrative of despair, the febrile image
of lungs, Svengali at the lucky wheel, scuzzy manager in the Bahamas

                        under bamboo green
                        suave, con moto in moonlight
                        splashing bikinis

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