“There must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to the thief.”

I’m borrowing from Hendrix, who borrowed from Dylan anyway.

And why must I have a revival in my deck of cards? Why another joker? You see, just when I’ve stacked the diamonds, clubs, spades, and hearts behind me, the other fucking wisecrack pops up.

Shuffle it anyway, and he’ll turn up, mirroring my smug smirk, jingling his bells, leering over the queen’s shoulder, popping out between the jack’s groin, straddling the king’s scepter. And then if I’m not careful he’ll be juggling my heart or hiding it among the other lonely hearts.

When I’m not looking he’ll arrange the clubs all in a row and pretend he’s amiably walking through a glade of melilots flying a heart-shaped kite. Or he’ll gather up all the diamonds for a game of chance, rudely wagering my fortunes on his whims.

He even tries to convince me that the spades are my upside-down heart, a heart confused by all the good hands, the bad hands.

It’s a bluff, I know, but still I play his game, eager to win my heart back.

But in the blink of an eye, he’ll shuffle the deck, wink, spread my whole life before me and tempt me to choose.

What am I to do? Sit at the bottom of the deck and cry? My tears making watermarks, the pack pressing down on me, requiring all my psychic energy just to simply locate the ace?

And if by some uncanny fate I come out on top, I’m quickly discarded out-of-hand.

So how can I win?

One day I’m going to have to confront this other joker when all the other cards have been used and stacked to the side in a neat pile. Then it will be either him or me. And one of us will have to reveal what the other has in his hand.

I’m hoping he’ll show first because then I can trade him my lost heart.


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