Thursday, February 28, 2008

Poker: A Disfavored Pastime

Note*** I posted an older poem that is back a ways in the blog. You can find it in the left hand module, entitled "a Personal Haunting". It sort of goes along with this "story", in a way. I'd appreciate any kind of critical feedback :) ***

was dealt a bad hand from the beginning. 

Through my nervous fingers each glossy surface glided smoothly from one palm to the next, rearranging themselves in meaningless order. My pupils focused avidly on the opposite end of the table, to the gentleman in the dark hat, sitting quietly in a shadowed silhouette. The lack of light surrounding our game made the visible blanket of night through the near window nearly explode the room in tones of cerulean, which produced an extraordinary effect of the separate faces of the seated players. Every gentle cheek and downcast eye stretched into a long countour and every slight smile morphed into a menace, as if they equally shared a secret. I kept my gaze averted to the gentleman' s narrow brim, imagining how it would be to trace with my fingertips that sharply crisp axis around his dark head. It was no mystery that at least one present at the event shared such a secret. His grim silence during the circumstances of casual whisperings and foretellings among the others made this quite evident. The real clue was the way in which he held his cards- each one aligned perfectly to the invisible lines running vertically from the ceiling to the table's surface. The man of mystery was only a temporary diversion to the fate laid out in my own two hands, for I soon realized that my turn was approaching. 

They told me his name was Rex Burgle, though the majority of the company resorted to calling him Ex. Why not just Rex is a fact I never did acquire, still 'Ex' seemed more justified- a whole other name completely, a cover for the character dressed in black clothing. I was thankful for this- it would have been impossible to take him seriously with a name like Burgle. There were moments, briefly sweet, when he did in fact amuse the crowd by his silent moves and smooth shuffles. It was so obviously strange that he would sit there and not say a word while the guests' volume heightened with the minutes. And yet, the simplicity of the gentleman's tricks combined with mystery of such a visage confounded my observation. It occurred to my mind that he had been a part of me all along, some Master to a region of my soul unchartered. His posture indicated pride, his reticence hinted shame. Ex. I knew him well. 

We gambled through the night. The bodies in between our two ends of the table were merely there in flesh, but colorful spirits of surrounding cities and voices. The familiar play of Poker transformed into Hearts, oh Hell! before I had time to gather my senses. Ex came to be my only opponent and ever more my greatest alibi. With every maneuver he urged me to play on, risking my whole share of winnings. My legs were numb under the table from the tense position in which I strained myself to breathe slowly, cautiously. Any sign of weakness would take me down, for his confidence dominated the back room of the casino. This place I never would have found myself under normal circumstances- under safer standards. I recalled only the shadow of a some hatted figure beckoning me into the doorway at which he stood, enticing my most secret longing, seducing the "natural man's" appetite. I followed and wound up here. I let myself drift off into a world of trusting disguises and now I hardly knew how to achieve escape.

Soon Ex sensed my apprehension, and in one quick swipe his hand fell, complete with a fully perfect suit, onto the cold mahogany and it was finished. The game was won in his favor, like always. That narrow brim raised like a ghost and two pitiless eyes the color of frosted lakes burrowed their way to the portion of courage still existent within my mortal being. Little by little his stare finished me off. Would it help to scream? None to listen meant none to hear. So I challenged my fear with counterfeit passion and allowed the shadow to take me over, wondering all the way if this was how it felt to be raped. Pain streak after pain streak, the line of gambles never ceased. All I wanted was my liberty back, yet Ex controlled my actions from every angle. His face now exposed, I collected memories from the course lines that shaped the wretched thing. So many memories. I could feel his cold breath on my back, and just as the quartz chandelier on the ceiling seemed to sway a little too far-removed from its metal hook, sleep embarked on haunting another's poor trance and I awoke.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

In Love. Again.

In love again- and this time it just...
Fits. Like a charm. 
In deep with this one, in the most serious delight.
I drape affection like moss around its chiseled surface,
And the physique's graceful shade consumes my eyes.

I am mad for this unshackled, blithesome fanatic,
Wild in the heat of its passionate design...
Experience suggests there is no other to handle my fire,
So the more that it rejects my devoted heart,
The more I thrive on keeping up.

Sweet is the caress of shapely steel wielded over my frame,
Gentle is the brush of sun against my head.
Back into its steady arms, I gradually let conversation fly
Free as the weightless pollen grains of Spring
And ease in taking apart its perfect soul.

Enveloped in its kiss,
I am assured-
It is entirely,
Honest. No act.

There is no time left to tame the days' most faithful tears-
No backwards vision to retrace those cursed steps 
Towards generous lips and false impressions.
I am allowing myself to get carried off...
In whims of softer dreams.

Truth in mortal beauty finds these mistakes too estranged to swallow-
And with sincere dismay I cannot push another down my throat.
My arms outstretch to the ghosts of a disquieted past 
Full of such mortal misgivings...
And touch true answers to beauty 
Unveiled in the vitality shining overhead.

I am in love again
With Life, with wonder.
That tender essence incapable of disappointing,
Unheard of breaking the bravest, starry-eyed spirits...
Such a bud that will never deter in becoming,
Nor dissolve a weakened child's fancy,
But raise my heart
Into Release.

And this time
It just fits.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Auxiliary Precautions

In the event of creating a Constitution for the newly reformed colonies of the United States of America, James Madison and two other elite authors of the precious document wrote several persuasive letters to the colonists, with hopes of establishing in their minds a more refined way of looking at government. These letters, better known as the Federalist Papers, warned the people of the disastrous effects of a monarchial society and the dangers of handing too much power to the constituting body. To avoid such a "liberty trap", these men set up protections against tyranny and built them into the Constitution itself.  The solution to the threat of another overly controlled nation were what Madison called "auxiliary precautions." I couldn't help but draw an interesting parallel...and after further study it made more and more sense. How does one know how much power to give to another without that party taking full advantage? Does there exist any happy medium? Is it even possible to balance control with faith in the virtue of mankind? Partially broken in my stubborn pride, half dead and unfeeling to any other man's supposed devotion, and deterred in all effort to to hand over trust that has seen one too many critical minds, I can say that such precautions would do me some good. 

"Experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions." 
-James Madison, Federalist Paper 51

Auxiliary Precautions

"If men were angels"-
This would not be necessary.
But the pages of my sorely blemished past
Never bore the record of such astral marks.
In cases of "men over men"
Certain rights are set to each party-
Trust sketches her finest lines
Between the sunken and the brave-
And for each exists a set of laws-
Checked and balanced.
In order for integrity to preside-
Each quietly commands the other
With kind, temperate hands...
Only before the day that indulgence
Has satisfied it's ravenous hunger-
Until fingers tighten their gentle grip-
Sufficient power hastily handed over 
Seems only fair to the upper.

Still-I must propose an inquiry of 
The most honorable intent:
When is it too much?
How do you give just enough
Without him retrieving a leash worn
Of black and blue-
Releasing his instinctive undertaking-
Punching the system's volition-
Striking the very core
Of a healing heart's beholder?
Must he ever abuse such faith?
Credence has simply become
Liberty undermined...
This fool's paradise is crippled-
All because somewhere in the dream of 
Creating a "more perfect union",
We forgot auxiliary precautions.

Father Madison knew the pattern-
His agenda wrote one sacred history
Of such a struggling pair-
Each wrestled over the other's head
In the gradual rushing waters of democracy-
Gasping for a voice- 
Both golden and tended. 
"Is it not possible to give to each department
An equal power of self-defense?"
Thus are individual duties assigned-
Separate, but equal.
Or is it enough to fortify 
My own heart's defects-
Left by the savage hand of 
Men- over me?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

a Personal Haunting

***this one is way old, and I've been neglecting it. so here goes nothing***

His purple and black excuses 
I took apart and understood
The weight of his self-regard 
I let shatter every grudge...
Those sultry evenings spent in the park
Wasted on an aching, tempted organ
Valued in a young lover's eyes
Yet so imperfect in memory's script-
I let loose
And dismissed.

The summer was so gracious
To bring me this stump
Of an imaginary orchard...
His juvenile, crafted mind was all it took
To intertwine my willing heart
With fresh layers of deceit.
And ingrown plans of becoming Captain-
Pilot. Politician. Priest.
Replaced my own rosy fantasies
With visions of vassalage.

I can pretend that the Others
All those others trampling days upon weeks
And weeks into eternity
Playing the familiar trend of pretend as well
Broke me down to silent nods among screams
And cordial "no thank-you's" in seas of approval...
But ever has it been his stony mark
Lacking warmth, forgetting mercy
That stays its emerald shade on my beating flesh
Changing colors with the seasons.

His haunting flies closer by-
Rots my engine of a dream with reminders
While the planets dancing overhead
Fulfill their part in prompting
"He could love half-way every time-
Leave you with so much inside, so much