Poem: Shell Game

Or maybe it's just musical-chairs or perhaps I'm over tired and pessimism is rearing its ugly head.

Shell Game

Does it, should it, will it ever end,
this messing about?
Humanity contemplating
its immeasurable self-doubt
Groping, bitching,
never near enough or satisfied
An endless circular shakedown
lit from the history of art,
finding all too often,
the lights turned out, a blank

This misadventure, turned
into a continuous shell game,
every goal seductive, winked at,
changed and rearranged
A turbaned, dark skinned slight of hand
Skillful, lightning quick,
happiness is there,
love beneath the middle shell, then gone
Promised once again, always grinning,
the deftness unexplained

Move the camera back,
pull me from neediness, un-stack the deck,
haul away the media fix,
lower the flag, stop all the push and pull
of expectation, the hanging in there,
catching up and falling back
Resolve me to another
less troubled and simpler tribal culture,
all babies valued, held and breast fed
by any mother who’s got milk

Hide away my lostness there,
where all skin touches skin
Believing in another god and
worshipful of sun and rain and wind
I need the black majesty of night
to cover me, aflame with stars,
to await each dawn without appointment
Smell the smell of dust rising
A whole community of eyes
that find my soul and nod agreement

My dinner table groans with choice
I’m overstuffed and starving
Too little nourishment, too much wine,
I beg to call the check,
pay the bill no matter what the price,
leave a tip and run
Provisioned, where the linen isn’t starched
And taste a simpler fare,
devoid of crystal, no expensive silverware
A more communal meal
Poetry Collection: The Smell of Tweed and Tobacco
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman's
poetry collection


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