there’s a few aboard each deck
there’s one behind each heart
a smile within a sob within a summer-sault
a key inside an apple inside a box of sunshine
riddle me this, your bells all a-tinkle
are candlesticks the only things you can jump over?
spinning fortunes and fates
and juggling daggers with equal ease
the knave of rooks and ravens is
a master of all trades, a jack of but one and that
is but a disguise.
thirteen suits are too heavy for a troubadour’s travels
too few for a troublemaker
a lover and a poet can wear the same shoes,
this you know as well as any other
but what of a king
whose crown will not fit his royal cranium?
would it look better on me, on you
its golden thorns prickly under the red-and-yellow silk
but silver is best; musical, witty silver
dancing at my toes and slurring my speech
that we might all better laugh at our lives
oh, they call us fools
but is he a fool who knows life
better than the living?
they call us so many things that we are and are not
that they fail to see the names in our truths
blind to anything but the facades they choose to see
unable to discern when a box is not as empty as it looks
how a sleeve can hold much much more than a chest
why the coins come and go as we please;
would that they were of this world’s gold!
there’s one in each castle
a brother, a traitor
an actor, a two-faced spy
split right down the middle and
a fool to the bitter end.
come, blow out the last candle
that one may jump over its stick without being set afire
for even jokes have limits, you know.

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