The Croupier God (prose poem)

The croupier god comped me a suite at The Palace, (offseason), and led me through the hallways personally, making smalltalk, explaining how the elevators work, keeping a steady pace while his scuffed rake dangled from a black elastic loop sewn custom into the lining of his white suit jacket. He opened the coded door for me, (first try), deciphered the thermostat, unstuck the drawers, programmed the remote to new, in-house channels, and turned the well-dressed bed down.

He said, “This luxury is where you lie.”

He handed me a gold card with my name embossed, black laurel in the upper right corner framing a female silhouette with an EZ-Read magnetic strip on the backside hovering over a hotlist of company-owned joints.

He said, “This is how we feed you for free.”

He strummed his swarthy fingers over an orderly row of three-score and ten play-worn purple checks arranged in an open, unfinished wooden box lined in remnant green felt and set on top of the empty honor bar.

He said, “And these? These are a very good start.”

-M. Ashley

As of today, this poem is ten years old. Crazy crazy crazy. Happy New Year everyone!

Gratitude My Love Song (poetry)

Gratitude, my love song to you
Love is patient and many-faced
Teaching me miraculous compassion
You sing it back to me

Love is patient and many-faced
May I, un-healed, go with you healing
You sing it back to me
May I, restless, with you bring rest

May I, un-healed, go with you healing
Safe and still my tempest past
May I, restless, with you bring rest
Just and safe my Now

Safe and still my tempest past
Teaching me miraculous compassion
Just and safe my Now
Gratitude, my love song to you.

-M. Ashley

God Is So Gangster (poem)

Behind the big desk in
The big office, one shock of
Lamplight making the dark
Wood desk shine. The carpet
Greenback green. God in
Wedding white suited.

Big men come to the big office
Stand and stutter in front of
The big dark desk, hatless hands
Clutching for something to cover
Their crotches with as they go
Begging. Help me. Help me.

Help me
They say.

God says no.
No. No. The question is:

How can I help you
In a way that helps me?

-M. Ashley

God (poem)

There is a guy on my street.
He has an orange muscle car.
He lives in a sky blue house.

He warned me once about mail
Thieves–a couple in a gold junker
Slinking from box to box at
Night, pilfering birthday money.

He is a nice fellow.
He keeps his lawn nice.

He takes his orange muscle car
Out once a week–rolls slow
Down the block. Our windows
Shake. My dog barks.

It’s Sunday.
The whole neighborhood
Knows it’s Sunday.

-M. Ashley

Loving Your Jealous God (poem)

If you make your god jealous, submit to him.
Love him. Ruffle his curly black hair. Offer him
your body and all your softest parts, the ones
you only offer some of the time.

Swear on the river, the unbreakable
swear, that you will give up
the offending one. Kiss him all over.

You didn’t mean to hurt his heart,
but you did.

-M. Ashley