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.”
As of today, this poem is ten years old. Crazy crazy crazy. Happy New Year everyone!
“…but I resisted the thought of a Czar of the Heavens, however loving His sway might be.” -Bill W., “Bill’s Story,” Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 12
I have chronic PTSD nightmares. I woke up from a particularly bad night—screaming screaming screaming—orange and red death screaming all night—and when I took my pup out for potty, I saw that her pee spot, over time, had formed an unmistakable heart on the pavement. An unmistakable heart with dog plops scattered about.
I sat on the edge of the brick planter box watching her squat, my arms wrapped tight around me, still shaking a little, and I smiled. I hadn’t the energy to laugh, but here was the Czar of the Heavens laughing for me.
How loving is the sway of this Czar that he would draw with his own shining finger a dog piss heart for me while my horror was screaming in my sleep? Pretty damn loving.
“I love you,” says this Czar, “even when things are shitty, and maybe especially then. This heart isn’t drawn around the shit. It’s drawn right thought it.”
Is in the boring section where The bright kids go Bright and boring is the book They whisper over, holy thing Bright, boring, book bound Just like the angels they read about.
Not that I have a hangup about Angels. If only their books were Dark and dusty, we might know Each other better. But I Bet there are boring dark spots Too. I have to bet because who Would know? The spots are dark Dark as a yawn Dark as the inside of a Closed fist. Dark as a book Bound mind. Dark as a priest’s dark closet
Not that I have hangups about Priests either. Or hangups About what they hang up in Their dark, yawning closets
Skeletons on pink padded Hangers, white ribboned Rose and garlic sachets Tied around their necks?
I wonder whether the casket lid is A death trap like those recalled Drop side cribs that snatched Babies into the jaws of death
But if it is a death trap, it isn’t Inappropriate for this funeral Where my little Christ-love lay Blessed barely an age Before being laid to rest with All this ceremony. All this Ceremony. I’m going to miss this And funeral/baptism cake and potatoes Going off into the worldly world Christ-love less. Loving without Magic underwear and ordinations And special water and oil For anointing and dove Down comforters and man— That casket crib was chock full of stuff I think I can live without. I think I think I can live without.