Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chess Man

The chess man calls to me
while I’m waiting and watching
and trying not to watch the game he is playing.

Hey beautiful, he says with a wink.
Wanna watch me wreck this punk, he asks.

He sits on two milk crates
the board propped up on three.

He gives the other player the bishop.
He even tells him so. Just take it, fool.
It don’t matter what you do. It don’t matter.

Come here, beautiful, he tells me.
I smile and shake my head no, my eyes drift
away from the board and back to the crowd
as if I am waiting for someone.

This is just boring, he yells to no one.
The opponent doesn’t flinch.
He offers up a soft j’adobe and flits his
long black fingers over the rook.

Fool, the chess man says.
Wanna play baby?

I shake my head no.
I don’t play, I tell him. Which is a lie.

Dat’s it, he yells. He doesn’t say checkmate.
He doesn’t shake hands like my father taught me to do.
Back to the pond, he yells after the opponent who is already walking away
If I need to fish again, I’ll bring my pole, he yells and cackles.
He smacks his lips looking to see who’s watching.

For no reason I follow the opponent through the crowd.
He is tall. Dreads. Easy to keep track of in the city.
And then circle back around to see who’s next.
But the chess man is packing up.
He puts his board away with care, and the clock,
the rattle of the plastic pieces.

He lets out a heavy sigh, wipes his brow
hooks his fat fingers through the plastic crates
and shuffles through the crowd,
looking awfully lost for a man that just won.

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