The Big Dice Game

The Big Dice Game

by Thomas Stone

All my friends
have something on their minds;
a preoccupation with expectations,
moments that failed to pass.

A bitter mother
and a sorry father,
another excuse for abuse:
one more hole in the head.

A flippant reply
amid stolen articles and loose change,
the unpaid bills offer testament
to the dreams we had.

Silence sits atop the dining room table
like a glacier.
There's nothing to say when all is said:
the chill creeps into the heart.

We are told to want
things we do not need,
and told to give
things we do not have.

A green young man
dealing in dreams
lost his life along with his wife:
the pressure was too great.

Empty conversations
filled his evenings
until he devolved himself
with a 38 caliber recycler.

Mary was a girl
with a life of her own:
mind distortion after two abortions,
she hasn't quite recovered.

Mary's mother was depressed
and left Mary alone.
Mary grew round, pound by pound,
and watched the soaps every afternoon.

Wrapped in insecurity,
we creatures paranoid
glimpse one another undercover
and spy out faults, and use them for leverage.

One man,
I knew quite well,
drank to ease the pain, he explained;
but now he can't remember how it began.

The freeway jam,
the charge accounts,
schedules at work gone berserk:
are these the rewards for success?

A rich boy
gave it all up
to know what for and go to war;
he had a patriotic notion.

He did not die
as others did;
instead, he returned old and worn out,
dying uncertainly by degrees.

The wife
of an acquaintance
ran way yesterday
with a man she had just met.

Fifteen years
of vested marriage,
all is changed and rearranged,
squandered on a one night stand.

I am told
things could be worse;
the bomb might fall on us all,
but I don't know how or why.

The universe
plays its tricks,
leading us to believe we see
some sort of meaning in our arrangements.

Random choice,
the big dice game,
makes a rich man poor
and keeps a poor man hoping.

Rich or poor, nobody's laughing,
they're mostly counting,
judging profit margins and keeping score,
blind beyond their reach.

And that
is the sort of world in which we live,
where happiness is transient
and all life is fleeting.

A wheel on a game show,
spun by blind contestants,
where the winnings are spent
before they're won.

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