This was just published in January issue of Burningword Literary Journal (97). Here is the poem. It was written in four line stanzas, but my blog ignores spacing and I don’t know how to change it.

This was great fun to write. My mother and grandmother were great card players (oh, and me). My brother father not so good.


I bet the four flush—

worth next to nothing

but looking to all like the key

to the kingdom of heaven.

You told me once

that poker

was half luck

and half bluff.

They had just

cleaned you out again

at the Friday night game

above the body shop on Sutter Avenue.

You and your six

unemployable friends—

passing a cheap bottle of rye

and shots at each other’s parentage,

in a room 

full of reefer

and the sweat 

of day labor.

You told me once

you had no luck—

having given it

all to me.

And I pictured a medallion

bestowed upon the younger brother—

no small burden

you’d hung around my neck—

as if the family’s fortune 

was riding on my narrow shoulders.

“What fortune?”

anyone who knew us might think to ask.

“But, you’ll never be a bluffer,

you told me,

for that you need a pair—

and in our family, I got them.”

Cold as cobra’s breath

I bet my four spades

and watched 

as the better hand folded.

You never were a judge of character—

a lifetime

of confusing 

friends and enemies.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Cadge

  1. maryrohrerdann says:

    Jeez, your poems just get better and better. I think I hate you.

    What would young Stevie think about how his older brother has become such a powerful muse?

    This is one I’ll read over & over.

    Mary Rohrer-Dann

    “Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?”

    Mary Oliver “The Summer Day”


    • stevieslaw says:

      Thanks Mary? I’m really glad you like the poem. It’s one of my favorites. Sorry you hate me. I thought we were getting along so well—even after the Pushcart Nomination by Alan at Misfit. No jealousy there. Oh well. I will try to be charming—well i agree that won’t happen. How about i will try to be tolerable.

      Sent from my iPad



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s