Friday, April 25, 2008

I win because!

When I was little, my family and three others would rent a beach house together in the summer. The parents and the older kids would play a complicated rummy game together, and my cousin (let's call him B) would watch from the sidelines because he was too young. Every hand in the grown-up game had a different contract, and B invented his own game which must have been based on his impression of our game. After the big people's game was done, an aunt or older kid in a generous moment would play B's game with him. B would deal out a hand, give some instructions, and then explain why he was the winner of that hand. B won every hand, and for every hand he came up with a different rule for why he won. We older kids came to call B's game I Win Because.

I've thought about writing a poem based on I Win Because for a long time, but it just wouldn't come together. Then yesterday something in the news made think of I Win Because and I came up with this poem in about an hour. Let's call it inspired by B's game, but it goes way beyond where B ever went.


I win because
I have four cards
and you have three,
because I have
the seven and eight of hearts.
I win because
I’m a cute five-year-old
who can barely count.

I win because
all your good cards
came early,
my cards are bigger,
because your
king of spades
all your other cards.
I win because
you will patronize me,
you see the tantrum
start to rise
when you challenge me.

I win because
my cards
have more spots than yours,
because I dealt you
all the cards in your hand
and you will be grateful
to let me win.
I win because
my cards are blue
and your cards are red,
because none
of your cards matter.

I win because
I will throw
all the cards on the floor
and set them on fire
if you don’t let me win.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

No white smoke yet

The Week in Haiku

The Pope came to town,
wore ornate medieval gowns
and really tall hats.

The Keystone State’s done,
but the Democratic race
will go on and on.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Happiness on the side

I do most of my work from home. It's nice to get a change of venue once in a while, and my favorite places to do that are restaurants or coffee shops. I like to go mid to late afternoon when there are few if any customers and the operators don't mind my occupying a table for two hours. I like a table by a window with an interesting street view, something that facilitates pondering while I write. I liked a Qdoba burrito place while I did time in Illinois. Here in North Carolina I have another burrito place, Armadillo Grill, that I can walk to. The Qdoba people came to know me from weekly visits. All were friendly, but one motherly Mexican-American woman had such a radiant smile that a two-minute interaction at the burrito counter could make my day.

Burrito Lady

She serves up a side
of happiness that tickles
my insides before
I even taste my lunch.
With selfish motivations
I write this ode —
that she might serve up
a second helping.