poems as hand- and foot-holds on a glass mountain

Playing Us


A moon tonight red as a hammered thumb

a clown’s impossible nose

held in place with an obvious string

Another night’s moon yellow as a fall squash

bulbous and crotchety

wearing the season like an old coat

Yet another’s moon orange as a neon sign 

over a used car lot or over casino parking 

Park it here, it says

your loss is my gain

we’ll pretend you might have won 

since every move is chancy

pretend you don’t know I always do

aside from a few showy losses

We know the moon’s playing us

its history ours at an angle

every face a pose

it holds, barely moving for hours

like a nude model for a dozen painters

all amateurs scratching and pawing

at large sketchpads working to get

a presentable fake of that curve, that smirk

a dozen histories vaguely similar

the instructor walks behind them

watching as differences between their sketches

erase each other, thinking; 

the Real has so many faces

none real but this lack of one

that vanishes when we no longer expect it

A student at the end of a row of easels

sits with folded arms 

in front of of a charcoal sketch of an empty chair

2 Responses to “Playing Us”

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