Featured Post

The Journey to the West

Though we journey to the West We pray to the East More or less that's the way Each day begins and ends It’s a tale everyone ...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

An Ode to Growing Old in the US of A

This is a poem I wrote a few weeks ago after spending an afternoon in an Atlantic City casino with my friend Richard Musto. 

* * * * * *

Underage gambling
Is illegal says the sign
Posted next to the Roulette Wheel
But what about overage gambling
I wonder as I look around
At the ranks of the geriatric
Daytime gamblers in Atlantic City
Why the state legislature
In its infinite wisdom
Hasn’t seen fit
To criminalize that yet
Even if it would bankrupt
A few more casinos

Down row after row
Of these infernal slots
Amidst the womb-like susurrus
Of bells and chimes ringing
There sit retirees
Spending what remains
Of their life savings
A quarter or dollar per spin
With walkers and canes
Placed alongside
Coughing and wheezing
In the smoking section
Or just squinting
While sitting too close
To the ubiquitous
Digital display screens

I remember in Vegas
Seeing a similarly
Hellish scene where
An old woman sat on her
Maroon scooter
Parked by the slots
With an oxygen tank
Strapped in by her feet
And a breathing mask
Stretched across her cheeks
And a long plastic cord
Affixed to the waist band
Of her stretch pants
Which was plugged directly 
Into the slot machine
And presumably the distal end
Was digitally connected   
Directly to her bank account
Enabling continuous play
Of ever more games of chance

Strapped in for life support
By one line and hemorrhaging cash
Through the other
What a superb metaphor
For growing old in the US of A

* * * * * * * *

In case you're interested, you can read a slightly later version of this poem on my Richard Musto blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment