Alan Dugan, “Portrait of a Local Politician”
It’s like being a winner at an all-night poker game.
I know I can’t leave winning without getting beaten up,
so I go on playing, trying to lose a little, but not too much,
hoping that mutual exhaustion will stop the game in the morning….
Then, I can take my winnings and walk away, carefully,
after giving a cut to the loser who follows me
and wants to break my arm,
and go home to sleep like death and dream
that my patience and expertise and money and winning
makes me a hero. No way. They know I have their money.
They know I’m a winner. They can get me if they can.
I know I have to play in the next game
for safety’s sake, and try to lose a little.
It’s difficult, they’re such a bunch of dopes, but they’re my boys.