Ballad of the Gambler's Shadow


New York, 1971


In my version of a beautiful lie, my kind of reality

we lock ourselves up in some dim-lit nowhere hut

strapped to the Yukon and just make love like it's

hard labour, 'til out bodies are honey and raw


and in the evenings we play each other's guts out

like mind-knives doing a death-waltz in this thickness

of the black. No limit, PLO, Open Face Chinese,

Fantasy Land, Chess, Backgammon, Rummy,

we let language drip into game theory

and then stick our tongues deep in our gifts


Sometimes in the mornings you blare hot blues

on the steel harp while the sun smokes and rises hard

over the teeth of the freezing mountains

your notes twist and twitch in the wind and I watch

your neck like I'd watch the player on my left

checking out the hand the dealer gave him

on the short-stack


That's what my beautiful lie looks like


Only problem is

I don't you know who are

I doubt you'd even wanna move to the Yukon

you'd probably be all bitch n' moan

about the mosquitoes and the grey food


You ask me

“Why would you ever want to leave New York anyway?”


and I admit to you that I'm just too soft for the city.

cardshark who can't swim. I beg myself to find

the land and slip my shade Why'd I even tell you?

Why'd I try? Why'd I even ask

if you'd come with me?






Two moths lie perched on a May leaf

quivering downwind beats

jacked legs torque, coursing electric


They are the underdogs of meetings,

the pheromones calling lost bottle,

directionless longing for her. He looks at her

with lidless kaleidoscopes. He does not speak English

but he knows what love is. It is written

on the patterns of her wings. They both know,

with all the confidence of religion what is meant

to be happening here. The fundamental truth

of their meeting, what's next


She nudges the jaw towards a humming thigh

a long drawn pause, a shudder,

that popped vision-shine of ecstasy


Even bugs know

an apple in between