Sunday, November 7, 2010

On The River In Chinatown

Nine of hearts, nine
Queen of heart’s, queen
Addiction knows no boundaries
Keep your needles clean

He stiffed the sitter, a tale of woe and mouth feeding, she still left pissed
Singh’s place was three blocks from his North Beach apartment....head down walk
Mr. Bings for Cape Cods and courage, none found because he was a shithead
Two year old at home, out in a crib, half a bottle of Dimetapp, like I said, shithead

Six of spades, six
Four of spades, four
10 of hearts ends the flop
Last two hundred out the door

The little Chinaman in the dark at the bottom of the stairs was Max
The only light in the well, produced from the lit end of his unfiltered cigarette
Rolled his own, saw him and spat “You go home….you die tonight”
He showed him his money, Max laughed and let him pass “disgusting”

Ten of hearts, ten
The card upon the turn
His chances slim to none
A lesson never learned

The money was rent, food, medicine for the croup, pissed off babysitter
Last week he went home, eye swollen and a noticeable limp
The owner and his henchman giving sage advice, “don’t come back”
Mr. Singh, a portly man smoking little cherry cigars, eyes smoldering this night for him

The game took to the river
The last card full of sin
Ace of hearts, ace
The card to seal the win

The sweat dripped pools from the end of his nose……shaking
Singh saw the win in his eyes, shook his head……stupid
He flipped his cards, breath held, an audible buzz in his head
Collected his winnings and said nothing to Max on the way out, "wrong way shithead"

He took his prize and headed out
Luck was on the rise

There was no scream or pool of blood

Or interest of any size

The baby woke and cried alone
His fingers gripped his gown
Tonight he lost his only hope
On the river in Chinatown


  1. Wow! This is an epic tale of self-destruction and consequence. Just when I thought the prose would take over, the repetitive refrain returned the piece to poetry. Eclectic style, very modern feel, great story-telling.

  2. I really got into this. Painful. "Addiction knows no boundaries." Your poetry makes me FEEL.

  3. Very nice story telling of addiction.... I specially like the card play in between the verses, which are very chilling and sad to read.

    The game took to the river
    The last card full of sin
    Ace of hearts, ace
    The card to seal the win

    Enjoyed the read ~

  4. Well Done, I love the lyrical tone~
    You played this hand well~
    Written well and so absorbing...I wanted more!
    The card verses between added so much raw emotion to this amazing poem!
    Sad, haunting and so real!!!

  5. Those refrain rhymes thud down card by card like the countdown to the end of the world, as indeed, they are every day for the deluded and the lost. Riveting narrative that drills through the reader's defenses, already knowing how this story ends, but unable to turn away the eye. Noir on the half shell, always my favorite.

  6. Yep! On every read, this one grabs hold with all its gritty power.

  7. This is stunning - captivating and so real. I love how you pulled poetry and prose poetry together in something that is a gritty tale. Poor baby...just so good.