House Rules


They say history’s written by the victors
and justice is blind. But sometimes
the laurel-wreathed John Milton’s
who chronicle our times and decide
our fates just might be more
sneak-peeking carny clairvoyants
than the mighty marble men who stand
muscularly aloof as they look
“out there”
or down upon us with their colorless eyes.

They set the rules for this game
long before we were born,
sometimes tipping off a crony or
sonny boy to which of the three
flippity-flopped cards says
”We Win!” or “Get Out Of Jail Free.”
The groundlings and rubes of us
usually pick incorrectly, backing
the wrong side, choosing the wrong card.

Maybe we might get taken down for gambling,
or pulling a hand of aces and eights,
when all we did was answer the come-on
to invest our time and a penny
in their game of skill built more
upon their skill in The Game.
Prime Rule of playing The Game?
No matter who’s dealing, it’s
The House always wins.


The studiously apolitical writer goes mildly political. I hope you know your street-corner card scams and Old West history. Understand, in my notebook-toting, cynical life, I’ve observed the political sausage made from both sides of the capitol walls and I’ve watched badges tarnish or shine even brighter in the flinching blink of a Jack’s eye.

One thought on “House Rules

  1. Superb racy read!! Love this one, especially last two lines No matter who’s dealing, it’s/ The House always wins”. Kudos for creating this gem & for sharing with us _/|\_

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