Hearts at Play

Some of my older poetry—the poetry before I ever became an undergrad then a grad—is often inspired by songs or stories I became semi-obsessed with during my high school years of over-sized sweaters and softball. Below is an example of that sort of inspiration, plus an on-the-spot rewrite inspired by the poem that was inspired by the song.



A Simple Game
written November 3, 2003 and inspired by Sting’s “Shape of my Heart

With spades and clovers
As their weapons
Armies fight on open ground.

With hearts and diamonds
For deception
The soldiers fight without a sound.

And as they lay their deck of cards
Each takes a turn
With weapon’s choice.

And as each army falls
They learn
That cheating takes away your voice.

But then the cards are handed in
The armies fall
And others stand.

To win the fight
Or win it all
You’ll have to have the better hand.

The 2011 Rewrite:

written May 5, 2011

Remove me as you would
the earth,
as you would
your enemies,
armed with their hearts
on their sleeves.

Weapons, as red
as cherries
or cartoon blood,
under screen glow
as you pierce the
pump, pump,
and cutting—

soundless as you lay them,
strike them down
shuffling to pull the upper hand,
the better hand,
the winnings.

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