Friday, February 02, 2018

Stone Soup Croutons, 2-1-18, Roll Over

Stone Soup Croutons is a weekly poem I write using lines and impressions butchered picked up from poems overheard from Stone Soup's open mic readers and features. I figure out a title (and sometimes the rest of the poem) later. You can read the other ones I've done since 2015 here. To paraphrase Lorne Michaels, this poem doesn't go up because it's ready, it goes up because it's Friday morning.

We now have a microphone! It was put to good use last night between the open mic and returning feature Mark Lipman. Next week, we'll have a mic stand for all our poets who prefer the hands-free. approach.

The idea of writing about a metaphorical game came into my head very early on from the first poem I heard, and I worked hard to maintain it throughout the night. The open mic still inspired me, but I was working harder to make each influence "fit" into a more cohesive whole (as opposed to other Crouton poems where I'm all over the place from start to finish).

Also, I didn't want to continually use the words "game" and "play" throughout the poem. Much to my satisfaction, I only used each word once.

Thanks for reading.

Roll Over

The game starts with cards
substituted with shells
by those who change
the rules so they win.

Your two of hearts is trumped
by their two cups, ready
to be filled with poison
should you get thirsty.

Or they'll keep you tipsy,
enough that they roll the dice
for you, tell you to go
directly to hell.

Do not pass Eurasia.
Your were always at war
with Eurasia. You could never
go back to start.

The knife is both their game piece
and their card to get out
of any trap your old shoe
has already landed on.

No you cannot build homes,
only acquire roommates
who will not protect you from
further traps, or the cold outside.

They won't even stop over
your body in the street,
or set it on fire just to see
if you're alive enough to scream.

It's a democratic process
they say. You were voted
most valued, the last one
willing to stay on board.

You still believe in a conclusion
to their endless chutes
and broken ladders
of their gatekeeper's logic.

One day you'll walk out,
steal their loaded dice,
throw them down a last time
into a sidewalk drain.

Watch them tumble
like any empire
where no one wants
to play anymore.

The mic is great, but do we have to hold it?

Starting to think all open mics should be written in blood.
Special thanks to Michael McAfee, Julia Vogel, Blaine Hebbel, Michael Igoe, Jan Rowe, Nancy Messom, Melissa Castillo, Mark Lipman and James Van Looy. 

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