I’ve Never Played Poker Before

I’ve never played poker before.

That’s a lie. I think I’ve played poker before, but I barely remember the cards over the loud wine, and I definitely don’t remember the rules. The others, Erin, Jeff, the strangers, they say it’s easy.

You are dealt a hand, they explain, and then you place your wager. Then you make a statement of confidence and offer up your money. I do the math… the twenty dollars I may lose in two minutes were made during one or two long, grueling hour at a job that I hate.

I think of all the times I have heard someone evaluate another’s “poker face.” Everyone is an expert. You have it or you don’t. The poker face isn’t a lie. You want to convince others to match your bet, everyone is claiming a strong enough hand. You don’t want to reveal that your hand is too good, or not good enough. A poker face isn’t any true deception, just a quit calm surface where everyone wonders.

I’ve never played poker (except, maybe once), but I am average at chess. Excellent at euchre. My poker face is probably okay, but my strategizing face is a dead give away.

You know when you play chess and you count 8 moves ahead with your knight on the black square? And if your opponent doesn’t notice then you will have his queen? That strategizing face gives me away every time. Dad always moves his queen.

I played chess online for awhile. There is no frown from counting too long to give you away. No straight face bluff face poker face to cause doubt in your opponent. No face at all, really. What is the point of puzzling against one another in attempt to rob your friends of their dignity if there is no face? No endured faces of forged frustration or glee. No face of fury or disappointment at the end?

Now that I think of it, I definitely played poker once. I can’t forget those faces.


On Ritual

Rituals We Build

We build a ritual of evening tea, or easier, evening drink;
Rituals of candles, or worse, smoke.
Nightly rites of meditation, of running, or more accurately: of eating, of sitting.

Breaking a pattern of consumption for a practice of reflection, production.
Importantly: My Rituals are My Own.

Halting a custom of 9 to 5 misery and 5 till 9 dread
And building a new habit of morning gratitude and a nighttime celebration of joy.

Once I knew a ritual of music and laughter.
I will know that ritual again.

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Tanzanian Dreams

I woke up from a dream about a dream I’d had before,
Where I’d fly out to Africa to visit the Tanzanian shore,
I don’t remember buying the flight, but I know I reserved our stays,
In Tanzania, in Africa, for twelve or thirteen days.

I need to call my sister now, did I even tell her we’re going?
Waking in the night, memories quickly slowing,
I dreamt I bought these tickets, now I dreamt we must soon pack,
We need to check in for the flight in order to make it back.

In my first dream, I remember, rivers and forests at night,
My geographical knowledge is limited, but somehow I got Tanzania right.
Three great lakes of Africa here, with abundant greenery,
With beaches and plains and east African rains, Tanzania has distinctive scenery.

I imagine there are zebras and giraffes, wildebeests on the go,
Sipping the waters of Lake Victoria, or surrounding the peaks of Kilimanjaro.
When we visit Tanzania again: in my dreams, in my sleep, at night;
I’ll be sure to call my sister first, and tell her about the flight.

In the City

In the city you can get away with

If you need to
Lie down
In the city, it’s okay; go ahead.

“Hey asshole, it’s an emergency!”
“I can’t see past the construction. Does she need help?”
“Where are the police?”
They bond by uniting against the jerk in a hurry

Because you’re in the city, we move fast enough, already.
What could be more urgent than being in the city? You’re here.
Slow down already.

3 Things


A poem by Nayyirah Waheed



The weirdest thingI tried this week.


very silly quizabout wizards and their coffee. I am Snape… all because my taste for bitterness is balanced by a weakness for cinnamon pastry.


Related: Four Things

Unrelated: Summer Music