Francis W. Alexander
I miss them, the wheeling-and-dealing gamblers who wagered in my bedroom on the weekends when I was a child. “Hey big head,” my uncle Bishe shouted, “Go to the store and get me some chips!” I ran errands for tips during the day and spun 45’s at night. The gamblers shouted their requests and I played the forty-fives—I remember Jackie Wilson’s Lonely Teardrops and Ben E. King’s Stand by Me. I can still hear the clinking sounds of the money and see the smoke hovering over their heads. Faces taut, they tossed money and chips on the table, made their bids. During all the times they gambled in my room, there was only one fight. It’s said that at my grandfather’s request a one-legged man named Mr. Gene and a younger knife welding man went outside to settle their differences. Mr. Gene quickly dispatched the man with a couple thrusts of his crutch.
old poker room
Saturday nights now filled
with sounds of typing
The haiku is taken from Brussels Sprout, Volume IX:1, January 1992, p. 34