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Discovering poetry…

You may or may not know it’s National Poetry Month. I signed up for poem-a-day newsletter to celebrate. It’s fun way to rediscover old classics and be introduced to new voices.

One such new gem is Airea D. Matthews.

Swindle

                               -Trenton, NJ 1977
Learn the suits, Ace:
a club looks like a three-leaf clover
a spade is an upside-down heart
a diamond looks like two kissing triangles
a heart is a goddamn heart.
A hand is five cards:
one card, each finger.
The ace is the highest.
Then the head cards:
King, Queen, Jack then
count back by 10—
that’s the rank.

 

                         Got it?

 

Bring a Barbie doll,
something to play with.
Circle the players from afar.
Eye your sneaky Uncle Clayt,
nigger tucks cards under his cuff.
Pull on his sleeve, ask for a hug.
If it feels stiff, say you’re thirsty.
Don’t crawl under that table,
‘less you want a gun in my mouth.
Don’t sniff the powder on the felt.
And boy, don’t touch the chips;
they’re worth more than you.

 

                            Understand?

 

Aim for loose play,
every motherfucker’s hungry.
When the game is tight,
stakes get too fat, too quick.
You’ll lose before the draw.
Spy those hands, Ace. Tell me
what you see. Scratch your chin,
rub your nose, pull on your ear;
we got a code:
                                   Eat.

 

Thing is that ace is tricky,
hinges on what’s held;
it can play high or low.
A full house ain’t shit.
Bend the straight.
Fuck a pair.
Fear that flush.
If you see those head cards
in order with the same suit:
grab your baby doll,
go to the bathroom,
flush the toilet twice,
stick one finger down
your throat,
bloat your cheek, run out,
force lunch on the table. Say:

 

                                  Daddy, my head hurts.

 

We make dust, baby girl.
Only lose what little you left.

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