Thursday, March 03, 2011

In The Game

Does the eagle know what is in the pit?
Or wilt thou go ask the mole
Can wisdom be put in a silver rod
Or love in a golden bowl?

A long, long time ago, the colors blurred, the voices unsteady, and yet, little in the present can compete with it. What are we playing for, here? The ante alone could break us. You know what they say: if you've been playing for twenty minutes and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy.

Walk naked down the long cool halls, the polished butter-yellow fir wood warm under your feet, the light bending around corners, slanting across your thighs, motes rippling away from your turned hands. What did they tell us? Oh, story after story, none of them true. The bedclothes still rucked up and smelling of sweetness and almonds and sex. If one still smoked afterwards, this would be the time for it.

We thought, if all the stories were lies, we'd get to make up our own stories: but it doesn't work that way either. The stories run the show, true or false: they set the ante. They make the rules.

The part you really loved was rolling the cigarettes afterwards. Thin brown nimble fingers, and the smell of unlit tobacco. Then the spurt of a match, and the faint blue spiral rising up, climbing up through the bars of the the sunlight, until your breath catches it and it's all confusion and turbulence, light and smoke tumbling together like dancers, like lovers.

Well. You can't wish love never happened. You pay the debts you can, you rub sweaty hands over your hair, you hope for rain, and you walk, walk right out of the past into the future, where the colors are even more fragile

So far, here in the future, the imagination collapses as soon as it tries to rise. But we're still in. They ante for you, in this house: you're in the game whether you mean to be or not.

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