Poker Player

Even in the tortured city, morning comes. 
And even the ice concealing the form 
will feel the sun, and melt, and reveal
a man twice-born, given breath, made real. 
But such a grand notion seems fit for dreams 
when even the yearning for peace, 
and a place to call home, 
has frozen solid, like a great river 
that can’t move all winter to the sea. 

Let’s call the frozen form, once-born, 
a poker player, way down on his luck, 
and place him at a table in Atlantic City. 
Say he’s down to his last couple of bucks 
and facing the final hand before dawn. 
He won't take the risk and go all-in, 
but somehow he’s too proud to fold, 
take what he has left into the street, 
and try to survive another day. 
What will our poor poker player do? 

Whether or not anyone asked for it, 
the gates of hell have broken open, 
and from the shell-shocked look on the man’s face, 
anyone as well-stocked as he happens to be 
in the records of the battered and broken-hearted 
would know at a glance the contents, or lack thereof, 
of this man’s heart, and how those contents 
have been strewn across the continent 
like abandoned belongings 
dropped at random out of a plane. 
Where do all those forgotten things go? 
Wherever wind and gravity take them. 

This frozen figure, this poker player, 
he thought he knew every inch of the iced-over river. 
He better start thinking again. 
He better start praying again to be born 
out of the womb of the weirdly lit casino 
into the tortured city in the morning light.

“Feeling Empty in Myself”

Feeling empty in myself
I took to the highway
Where I rode under a menacing sky
Filled with vultures descending on sheep
Scattered amidst dew-covered grass by the sea
On that morning when the mist would not lift.

Feeling empty in myself
I opened and closed the cabinets of a desk
Looking for a letter she wrote me long ago
Her words overflowing with feelings
I once thought would fulfill me.

Feeling empty in myself
I filled up a notebook with words
Looking for the word
That would shorn me of myself
Long enough to be reborn.

Feeling empty in myself
I began to celebrate my fill of error
And lament my still-born success.
I undressed my undirected terror
And began to caress its undefended neck.

Feeling empty in myself
I discovered a dimly lit tavern filled with spirit.
Finding myself unable to soar with spirit
I sunk instead into soul
Until I could no longer hold under
What could only be driven up and out.

Feeling empty in myself
I imagined a life bounded by a journey never taken
Roads closing in on me as I hung on tight.
I put one hand on the ground
And raised the other to the sky
That the moon would soon overtake with light.