Scoundrel Time


Offence’s gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft ’tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law; but ’tis not so above.
There is no shuffling; there the action lies
In his true nature . . . .
Hamlet 3.3.58-62

Perfect bastard, you’re so smart.  You know
you’re shuffling. Keen on the razor’s edge, your fat
feet don’t bleed. You shuffle along. If we catch you
looking in your mirror, there’ll be no shadow.

Your gilded hand assays the quality of the silver
lining, deposits a thumbprint, your teeth bite hard
but leave no mark on the pearl.  You have a taste|
for hedge funds, oligarchs, the trophy wife.

A cannon booms off-stage left.  Stage right,
in a closet, you’re on your knees shuffling, bargaining
with attorneys. What is the law if not to serve
the client?  Petitions.  Deals.  Can you settle

for your mega-mansions, yachts, Rolexes, implanted
teeth, tanning bed, diamond cufflinks, golden toilet,
islands, towers you’ve lent your name to? Yes, no doubt
you’d miss the pomp and trumpet, the shuffle

of grand entrances, command of this or that
be done or summoned. Personal shoppers, dressers,
chauffeurs, inured to the bend and hop to, the bother
of selecting wine, caviar, glamour escorts

flown in from LA, the tight, the trim, the to-be-
broken-in. The well-groomed will do anything.
Glide and pump, glide and shuffle and pump.
A smoke now. Your drink concocted for satiety

by the infinity pool, a parade of auditioning girls
and boys. Their shuffling. Water and silk. Call in
your truffler, chef, sommelier. You want rare meat
and cognac. Shuffle. You want chocolate and war.

Where’s your water jet, private jet, helicopter, ski
lift, golf resort, ocean view? By all means,
shove by justice, write a check for charity.  Poor knees.
Pray rise.  Shuffle a soft shoe. Say it’s done.





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