The Wheel (after The Cardsharps by Caravaggio)

Posted: September 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

CONTEXT: May, 2011

Last year I was approached by someone from the National Gallery about performing some poetry in conjunction with the Caravaggio exhibit that was in place last summer. Members of the CapSlam community have done this before, when Kevin Matthews organized a group of us to go in, get inspiration from some of the art in palce, write poetry, perform for a group of youth gathered there.

It was a lot of fun. The pieces I did were Step Back and What is Art?

Because of his experience organizing such an event, I brought in Kevin Matthews to help me. After talking to the Gallery people we added Mehdi Hamdad (and a female, francaphone poet who had to cancel before the event happened).

I wrote this poem inspired by The Cardsharps by Caravaggio. That was a good fit for me because while I admire his many religious works, that was not somethign I cared to write about. Instead I took the one with people playing (and cheating) at cards.

The chorus was written to involve the other two performers with me. The first and third line of the chorus comes form one voice, while the second line comes from the other voice. All three lines overlap with one comes before and after it. In the first performance the main voice was done by Ruthanen Edward (as I was quite ill), with Kevin Matthews doing the first chorus voice and Mehdi Hamdad doing the second. The other two performances had the same chorus voices but I was there as the main voice. We also did a recorded version by Peter Simpson that had Ruthanne doign Mehdi’s part.

    The Wheel (after The Cardsharps by Caravaggio)

The wheel spins round and round
Where she stops nobody knows!
The wheel keeps on spinning,
Spinning, spinning

Dominoes fall, clicking into place,
Rock-locking by
Electro-magnetic forces
Without the uncertainty of a
Teeter.
Iron-clad destinations
Of destiny-bound
Fate-mates.
What of choice?
Who is captain
Of the Ship of Free Will
Steering through the
Mawkish waters of
Chaos Theoretical Whirlpools
Of chance of illusions of
Luck?

The wheel spins round and round
Where she stops nobody knows!
The wheel keeps on spinning,
Spinning, spinning

What increases your odds –
Careful planning
Or random chance?
Peeling cards off a deck
Like bills off a roll
Risking hearts for the
Glimpse of a diamond,
Red and black –
Blood in the night
As another eye is opened
And illusions drop
Like a crushing
River
Rock

The wheel spins round and round
Where she stops nobody knows!
The wheel keeps on spinning,
Spinning, spinning

Luck is an illusion,
An allusion to attaching
Value to chaos –
Chance as mathematics –
Mystical numerology
Hiding behind statistical probability –
Misplaced gravity
With the weight of the world
Shifting from back to back,
From red to black,
Looking for a fair spin.

The wheel spins round and round
Where she stops nobody knows!
The wheel keeps on spinning,
Spinning, spinning

We want to believe in luck
When choices do not achieve
Choiceness and roadblocks
Drop – popped balloons as
Hard work or hard dreams
Do not beat back the
Sandbagged rising tide
And ceilings of safety glass.
Sometimes chance dances
On the edge of dreams –
At the edge of desire
When a fair shake
Seems a rare take
And the universe of chance
Gives the best odds.

The wheel spins round and round
Where she stops nobody knows!
The wheel keeps on spinning,
Spinning, spinning

But chance can be helped,
Wheels tilted on their axes,
Dice loaded and decks stacked,
Hidden facts skewing results,
Bringing order to chaos
Swinging chance to quick loss.
Chaos can be trusted
While order is dictated by
The orderly,
And when did you last
Dictate the rules of the game?
When a test of luck
Faces a feat of skill
Hoyle is no defense.
The universe does not conspire
Against you.
Lady luck does not care one
Way or the other but in a
Zero sum game where only
One follows the rules,
One gets the sum
While the other gets the
Zero.

The wheel spins round and round
Where she stops nobody knows!
The wheel keeps on spinning,
Spinning, spinning

Luck is what you
Make it.

Tap twice

And make a wish.

““““““““
The next poem still has to be debuted. Maybe the first October slam…

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