a poetry e-zine










Poems By Stacey Balkun
Borgata, Atlantic City

You were shocked I’d never been, so we drove
down the shore and I wrote a poem in my head
because that’s what I do near water.

I prefer a little village under open skies. Nonsense,
you convinced, helping me out of the car and
handing off the jangled keys to a valet driver.

The blaring lights and bright sounds circled around
me like witches or gypsies and I could barely move
forward. My feet knew I’d sink into that carpet,
bluer and softer than a dirt road, more modern
than any market.

But I followed close behind—your shoulders
standing taller than anyone else around. You’re easy
to find in a crowd, especially a swarm of leather-faced gamblers
slicking their throats with vodka tonics to help the words
slip out faster—up the ante, let it ride.

When there’s no sun to set, things can get carried
away. I was frightened without windows, with no knowledge
of weather or time. I collapsed into a game of cards.
Blackjack has the best odds, but even at twenty-one
the dealer always dealt herself better.

I’ve never paid a waitress in chips before
but in this world of plastic bargains,
I guess anything goes, except I don’t think
I’ll play games with you anymore, and
the next borgata I visit will have fresh apples
and grapes, not slim chances and high stakes.

Well, There is Love, and then There is Comradery

but they are two different things, you explain
confident philosopher leaning logical
against the peak of my roof, right hand
resting on my thigh.

I stare at red maples swaying
below and disagree, I cannot understand
your theories, not until I know why the wind
will always stop at sunrise and sunset,
love and comradery.

We have rested on this rooftop in the gray
space between day and night, night and day,
watching sky slip into new clothes, moon
sneaking a peek into day, night.

Today, tonight, we remain huddled
on damp shingles examining constellations
and watching as the sky grows pink with dawn.

My cheeks flush pink with frustration,
with the acceptance of all in this world
that I do not know.

I smooth my hands across your shoulders
and search the constellations of your freckles
for answers, desperate to understand my body
against your skin, fingers brushing like branches
reaching up to stroke the moon, empty eye staring

and realize that all I will ever know
is how grateful I am that we've met.

Stacey is a New Jersey poet with her heart in the South.  She enjoys traveling, drinking good coffee, and large bodies of water.  Past publications include Talkin' Blues, US 1 Worksheets, and Vox.  Stacey is excited to be a part of the 2010 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival staff this year!  Send her a message at sbalkun@yahoo.com. 

Copyright 2010  Chantarelle's Notebook