Gamble


(All of Flushing, here in Queens, New York, -once a ‘charming village of 25,000’- has become a Chinatown, a Koreatown, and the only thing of interest really is that because they’re not us, the powers that be allow them to do those illegal things to each other that don’t effect the diminishing white-ish mass. This reminds me of being in Los Angeles a few weeks ago and driving back to my hotel through a springtime midnight. We passed a side road with an enormous building marked up in neon as a casino. Not knowing that there was legal gambling in the state, we backed up and chose the valet parking.)

Inside a huge hall
there are Taiwanese
playing dice games
difficult to understand.

Fully-upholstered girls
are calling “Cocktails”
as though pornographic
actresses from 1912
shocking in their short skirts
and mainly bare forearms.

Their alcoholic sales pitch
is the only English heard
apart from our own
short speeches for whiskey.

We leave of course
after a fight or two breaks out
and see the sheriff’s car is outside
only looking for drunken drivers.

[1994]




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