My son’s the sticky-fingered banker—
a vault of red licorice squeaks
in his mouth. He conducts business
from his wooden chair on his knees,
puffing on a fresh piece of licorice,
clutching his stack of $500 bills
as if the IRS is coming for his
fortune with a giant vacuum cleaner.
I’m responsible for the deeds.
I have the few remaining ones fanned
out like a questionable poker hand
on the dining room table.
I toss a handful of M&M’s—
such sweet analgesics—in my mouth
and wash them down with Kool-Aid.
Of course, my son’s got the car.
And I got the boot.
He’s got hotels like red parasites
from Pacific Avenue to Boardwalk.
And he controls the railroads too.
Landing on Luxury Tax would be
the answer to my prayers.
I just want to go to jail,
not pass Go and stay there;
the jail house shower is safer!
Well, I’ve mortgaged everything,
except my hotels on Cockroach Corner—
Mediterranean and Baltic Avenues.
I’m on Marvin Gardens, and it’s my
turn to toss those little evil
squares speckled with black holes.
I land on Chance, and I start to wipe
the sweat of bankruptcy from my face,
but then my son hears me whimper:
“Advance token to Boardwalk.”
—from Rattle #25, Summer 2006
Tribute to the Best of Rattle
Steven M. Smith: “I know that my students are not likely to remember the titles of the poems I bring to the class, but I trust that by bringing passion to my students, they will know it’s possible, and go out to find something in their lives to be passionate about. I know this is possible through poetry.”