Hero of a Forgotten Republic

Joe Stalin he might be
Fingers drumming green felt
Calculating his next purge
Fill an other gulag
With Ukrainians
Finger tapping
Focus on the down cards
Other players
Cardboard faces
Pasteboard numbers

Shouts past me
“Double down! Double down!”
Tired first base trucker
Parlaying his bets
To survive another hand or two
In this hell-camp.

Stalin tosses three greens
Past me to the trucker
From his four inch high
Stack of blacks and greens
“Double down! Double down!”

Astonished trucker pushes back
A weathered straw hat
Gazes at the green chips
The dealer upturned six
And his own sixteen
And doubles down.

On and on
Same vein
Stalin winks at me
At second base
Throwing chips past me
The driver promptly loses
But always looks now
To see what Stalin
Thinks is best
While downstream
In third base Stalin
Plays three hands all at once
Table max 200 on each place
And wins wins wins

Speznatz tattoos
On chubby knucklebacks
Stalin and I exchange small talk
And knowing smiles
Once advised
The other side of a line
I was on this side of
Did his final tour in Afghan
Got out first chance he could
When things got shaky
And the walls went down

Now he hauls produce
From east to west coast
Always stops here in-between
Shouting orders
“Double down! Double down!”
To the bloated capitalist pigs

Grumbles price of fuel
Trainloads of Chinese goods
And tyrant highway cops.

Old Jules
Copyright©NineLives Press

2 responses to “Hero of a Forgotten Republic

  1. Stalin had one heck of a fine mustachio…

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