the joker – a play

the joker* – a play
beijing 2010
*reference to the joker as he appears in the traditional Tarot card pack.

The Joker as depicted in the A. E. Waite Tarot pack illustrated by artist & fellow member of the Golden Dawn, Pamela Colman Smith

does it get better?
i don’t know,
but worse,
for sure.

i took to the
road a muddy
path at dawn
that first
the sea swelling
to the dark
foot of the cliffs
the path
along them
at the
mad edge

i knew
the break out
of sun on
a world
of crooked towns
the ships at
harbour rigged
with ribbons
for the

i knew this world
not better but

the path no
wider than a
a moon
on the

the ladies
handed me
their perfumed
cards sought
dalliance with
my wrist set
my skin aflame
i woke among
their flounces

the path i
drank more to see
it at the bottom
of the
pale vein
along the back
of the hand

no wider
than the edge
of a gull’s wing
as fleetingly

i saw letters
left after
it like the trail
a snail leaves
across stone

a maid of
good features
and kind as
a spring
bade me
rest away
these worries
i almost fell
asleep my
head on
her lap

saw it
just then
in a thinning
cloud against
the evening

heard the sea
afar walked
to the edge
looked down
into the loom
of the tides
the shuttle of
waves sped
along that
shore a
thread in
it of
i stepped
into air

does it get better?
i don’t know,
but worse,
for sure.

Copyright ©2011 Peter Le Baige.  All Rights Reserved

Click on the link above to hear a poker-faced reading of the poem.  

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