Feb 13
Today, I went looking for the city
I once lost in a game of poker
and a drunken stupor

I gambled away
the dreams of the peaceful-looking
homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks

I gambled away
the excitement I felt when
listening to the train tracks creak for the first time
under the weight of interconnected wagons
going forward at full-speed, full
of folks that commute
from all over

I gambled away
the shadows under the
bridges, the grey dwellings somewhere between
some place and nowhere, where somber people
sought cover from passerby's eyes
and streetlamps

I gambled away
the songs of the sax men,
the guitar strings of subway soloists,
the moves of B-boy crews,
the graffiti of street artists

I gambled away
the corner bookstores,
the quirky organic coffee shops
and urban farms ran by
millennial hipsters

I gambled away
an entire museum,
lost every work of art inside,
painting by painting

I gambled away
the beautiful, anonymous
faces that made the tapestry
of the colorful and loud
9 to 5 crowd

I gambled away
the winds that made the
summers bearable

I gambled away
all my loose change in an eternal game
of Three-card Monte, fell for the "short con"
(couldn't call home 'cause
I couldn't use payphones)

I gambled away
and lost a decade in a day, when
I was young and stupid
and careless

Tried to retrace the steps
I took down the road less traveled
and the path not taken

Hunting for the sun after dark,
drinking sidewalks with my feet,
walking in the smoker’s breath,
dancing to the midnight beat

I regret,
I repent

I bemoan,
I atone

But I have yet to hold
a winning hand

a Full House,
or a Straight Flush

A card,
any card;
any thing
that helps me
remember

The City
where I left my heart
and forgot my soul.
Alva Cardona
Written by
Alva Cardona  San Juan, PR
(San Juan, PR)   
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