The gambler says:—Tell them I came, but no-one answered.
Entranced, as the gambler is ever, by the lovely mathematics in softest lighting, the ballet of numbers, the chemin-de-fer, the vingt-et-un.
Good evening, enchanté that you could join us tonight,
When he enters,
M’sieu, your usual. Rum and stunning fractured ice placed at the elbow,
A balloon glass of bent rays, a crown, a coronet, on the house, too loyal a customer of the House.
And the gambler delighted to receive the lying obeisance that is the House.
No rallentandi, not now begun,
Though many Casino nights it takes to pour his blood coin on coin to the river.
To cup the toxins out, many nights at rouge et noir,
On impair, manque, many francs down by midnight, and not especially concerned,
(The false high spirits he must display if the bank should lose.) Since he fights tonight, as every Casino night, to lose it all.
Tell that to the psalms still in the air,
In fact, tell that to the morbid whole around him,
Who are so dreary in their marvelling.
—Comme c’est merveilleux vous êtes venu ce soir,
Faro and Napoleon, Texas Hold ’em and the obstinacy pertains,
The slope is passing steep, let’s sleigh it to the bottom, that wry smile of his ever wishing and wishing.
Which goes where… when you are not under the sky,
When you are in the icehouse and blinkered to a single view?
After loss, he doubles his stake, and plays to martingale,
After gain, he halves his stake,
With a small smile at their fallacy that the streak on average continues.
That croupière, crisp white sleeve with gaiter, bow tie of black,
The god made female for the day, for the opposition, knows the gambler’s heart,
All sleeve, all take, all drawing-in,
The broom sweeps away all the round chips to their home,
When it was Beggar my Neighbour and simple grandparents,
From the small-stake game, Hearts and the blackest Maria down the street,
When it was parvenu parents and authority unearned,
The learning was what?
A hole in the pocket, a split in the wineskin, the desiccation of August.
Dionysus, designated humourist in the stone drudgery laid down,
Dionysus, casual to throw up five cards and have them all aces fall,
Doors were never locked, children played in the streets,
The inevitable joys and troubles of the world came on all in equal measure, sharing was their strength.
When it was the learning of the rules.
The twin vastations, affection and seduction, he has experienced,
When sensuous, I’ll be your ruin,
A vocation, says the Gambler, no less, it came to be for me.
The product was what? What comes will go.
Now is the time for a brightening brow on dying’s itinerary. Many nights it has taken.
—I had hoped the world could, might, be otherwise.
So tell them I came, but no-one answered.
House odds against, the Gambler must go down,
A broken man, contented broken man, to the Dolomites, and slip.
His house is squandered, he has succeeded,
A martyr, every bit as much: vivement la destruction!