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 I ran into the Oracle of Delphi 

sitting at a slot machine; black coffee in the left hand

 

the other bent on  summoning Four Aces with a Queen

 

“Where did you come from boy – you are obviously

 

not from here —it’s the labeled beer

 

 – a dead give away

 

 here the beers been thinned –

 

losses out weighing- so called  wins”

 

All this and she didn’t even lift  a brow –

 

I pulled out a bill wanting to start playing now

 

I knew her intentions were harmless

 

as I fed my game of choice –

 

just  hoping to slip outside my head

 

let my brain wander in the grabbled  noise-

 

The clanging of quarters –finger pointing

 

 and sounds of blame,

 

all payment for someone else’s

 

consequential  shame –

  

I didn’t say a word – I hoped she’d just go away  

 

until the next line caught me

 

(So, I told my brain “Hey, Stay)

 

“You must be a writer– let me guess,”  as she  pulled a rock or

 

some kind of lucky charm from her shirt

 

and waved it across the top of the video poker screen,

 

“you’re a  novelist, a grapevine drinking,

 

self proclaimed protagonist, – right?

 

Hey look –there’s that Four Aces and a Queen.”

 

She cashed out and finally looked me in the eye

 

“Son, now do you think you got here,

 

Do you really think it was for the thrill of the game-

 

 or the taste of the beer?  It’s pain, P-A-I-N.

 

That’s what brings your kind here.”

 

We walked towards the green light

 

 beaconing us from above the bar

 

“Pain is one of the journey’s of the heart,

 

 the one that our minds can’t seem to comprehend.”  she called

 

“I’ll take a gin and tonic, beer here for my novelist friend.”

 

“The aching heart needs a voice,

 

writing a novel is just one way to talk it out

 

but you have to remember – It is a choice.

 

Expecting to be heard, gaining clout, well,

 

that’s another matter.”

 

My eyes wandered over  to the corner table,

 

 there sat indulging in another round was

 

Gatzby and F.Scott Fitzgerald

 

The night appeared  still, and some band started to play

 

Smoke started to fill the room

 

I began feeling compelled to get away,

 

though I did not want to leave without a win

 

So, I told myself relax – “What’s to fear?”

 

I switched to scotch and soda-

 

I was no longer getting the kick I needed

 

from the beer

 

I now had the nerve to ask her name –

 

she replied, “Woolf, Virginia Woolf,

 

but hell, don’t be afraid ,

 

 most things written about me

 

are nothing more than lies, all lies.

 

Besides, you know – good novelists- we never die.”

 

By this time I knew I had outlasted my stay

 

“Wait, she said, there is someone you must meet.”

 

It was a tired, worn out Hemingway,

 

 remnants of the once great man

 

 a shotgun leaning against the bar, where he propped himself

 

an empty glass in a trembling hand.

 

I bid my good-byes one last time

 

headed for the door – heard the bell of morning tolling

 

heard the fatal shot,  the thump against the floor

 

When she yelled out “Hey, you novelist –

 

before you leave the scene,

 

I just want to say, thanks again, for the Four Aces with the Queen”

 

                                 

bkmackenzie
copyrighted 2008

 

 

 

 

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