The Card Players
| for One |
| to Four |
| Players |
_Grammatici certant et adhuc
sub iudice lis est._
_Digo, paciencia y barajar._
1. Never play cards with a man
2. Jam to-morrow and jam
yesterday--but never jam
3. The rules are always subject.
4. Literature's always a good
card to play.
5. When in doubt, win the trick.
But do they cohere? A collapse of
intersections traces the path etched
in copper intaglio.
A small shrine freezing behind an
unused barn. Pedestal, stupa,
cracks in stone glint with ice
Late hour dogs bark--rusted gates
rankled by squall.
Grandfather clock crowns narrow
stairs. Dank house in sequestered
Avocados and oranges not allowed
across the border.
Wires triggered by rectangular holes
in a revolving iron disk. Chordal
music spills from antique case.
In response, I devise my own deck of
cards. Composed of paragraphs that
cartoon when they are flicked.
Gully through the trees auroral at
dusk with its snow-polished grades of
rose and kangaroo.
Miniatures spring from one pixelled
cloud to the next. Clouds drift
explicitly with no hand in sight.
I will sit next to you with a fresh cup
It was in the cards--fanned,
distanced into glossy arrays.
Thankful for some consciousness of
me as I draw cards in the dark.
On an flickering throne, king
elevated in alleged control of the
chaos of letters.
Robe bursting open in electrified
A keyhole, in case you need it.
Pair of aces, animated, of
approximate height. A store,
supplies, instant art. Just add
But they do not cohere. Unlike those
coated with plastic, when shuffled,
the edges fray, buckle--unstable in
As suspected, I was stuck with the
can of Folgers.
The way you tell the story, I see
them at one end of the house eating
and playing cards while you sit alone
at the other end.
Shoelaces drop lazily onto an finished
dais, oiled and uneven. Are there
Curled next to me in the stabbing
dark. Shampoo fragrance molds itself
to crease in unseen sheets.
Sun peels ribbons revealing grass
nested in dissolving stripes of snow.
Palm trees slant, border of parade.
Miami route iced with skyscrapers,
Suits reveal full cuts of light. Long
limbs intend, protracted and flush,
contour of serrated shapes.
A yelp--took every effort of the
muscles to bring it up. Shards of
clock-glass splayed in card player's
Metal prongs clap edges of cards that
slap in succession. Each image,
snags, resists--then slides into the
Yes, but were the windows framed
with ligaments of colored lights?
Scented but alone you enter your
chamber of sheep.
I won't go to bed if you don't ask me.
This doesn't happen if you're asleep.
Palm trees in emitted flux, flick in
time to their 8-bit beat. Desert
electronic, lurid sands lure
Only the fore edges of each card are
needed; keeping the insert off will
only require endless overtyping.
Cards spread in a circle of light.
In the spectered, hollow church,
scenes of torment char the child-like
A pimento scarred me once.
Field is carmine, a wazir crawling
with ease through a rainbow wheel of
icicles and cloud.
The "voyage of discovery" incised in
pastel. Pencil line precise as long as
card is not turned.
Identical en visage but one with
fronds more attenuated. Vivid
greens of leaves stirring step.
The postulant's arrears--brazen
snapping on the glass table.
Below which is a banner, frayed at
edges, lacerated tongue. Scepter
balanced between two fingers.
Shaky because she is late. Stockings
the astronauts touted on the new
moon of the 8th.
Wild card from the cantina with its
many supple creases.
Egyptian frond's de-centered light.
Trey-balancers with perfect pitch.
I count them--one, two. Obliged to
stand side by side in the player's
Frond on the crown of the circles of
Tomorrow the card players depart.
The house a draw except for the
creak of occasional sleep.
Branched their roots writhing on
bare rock--etching saffron winter.
Minerals rise from hunger riddled
tang of acids. Rings of seclusion
sting familiar strata.
The vulnerability that bends in the
middle when not expected.
Spilling from my hand there are so
many of them they curl as I try to
Card trick for those for whom
luxuriant dining has lost its thrill.
German deuce, the model, hungers
wide-mouthed. Der Spiegel on the
Invent a deck to evade the clamor.
First, vanadium streaks between
burned trunks. The second