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Joseph Stalin Revisited


Last Edited: July 9, 2005, 10:20 pm



Joe Stalin he might be
Fingers drumming green felt
Calculating his next purge
Fill another gulag
With Ukrainians

Finger tapping
Focus on the down cards
Other players
Cardboard faces
Pasteboard numbers
Shouts past me

Double down!  Double down!
Tired first base trucker 
Parlaying his bets 
To survive another hand or two
In this hell-camp.

Stalin tosses three greens 
Past me to the trucker
From his four inch high
Stack of blacks and greens
Double down!  Double down!
Astonished trucker pushes back
A weathered straw hat
Gazes at the green chips
The dealer upturned six
And his own sixteen
And doubles down.

On and on
Same vein
Stalin winks at me
At second base
Throwing chips past me
The driver promptly loses

But always looks now
To see what Stalin 
Thinks is best
While downstream
In third base Stalin
Plays three hands all at once
Table max 200 on each place

And wins wins wins

Speznatz tattoos 
On chubby knucklebacks
Stalin and I exchange small talk
And knowing smiles
Once advised
The other side of a line
I was on this side of

Did his final tour in Afghan
Got out first chance he could
When things got shaky
And the walls went down

Now he hauls produce
From east to west coast
Always stops here in-between

Shouting orders
Double down!  Double down!
To the bloated capitalist pigs

From Poems of the New Old West

Copyright 2002, Jack Purcell




Entry #129


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