Chess mates, drawn to checkmate
when white plays black, as always
in a game again where winners
take it all and pawns
are sacrificed for kings.

The white queen rooks,
seduces bishops
and with eyes that are to mate
a toppled king.

There is a timeless wind
a staleness carved
with cigarettes, when afterwards
a homeless man searches cobblestones
for fallen pawns.

photo by Damien Derouene

photo by Damien Derouene

Time again for Magpie Tales, and this image contains so many magnificent tales. So much tension. It was a joy to write to it.

22 responses to “Checkmates

  1. That little girl is fricking adorable. I LOVE her expression. She looks like she’s mind-controlling that dude. Actually, she reminds me of Jane from the Twilight movies. Do you see it?

    Your poem is the perfect complement to the photograph.

    This is my favorite part … the segue:
    “There is a timeless wind
    a staleness carved”

    But my ears want it to say “cigars” instead of “cigarettes.” And, they also want a hyphen in “after-wards” to draw out the hard /r/ sound and to switch up the stress, you know.

  2. I expected it to say the white queen rocks, and then it didn’t. And I had to think over what rook would mean there. By hook or by crook, she’s been rooked, but I don’t think that’s what you mean. 😉

  3. The pic proves it all. There are good chess players even on the street. Perhaps they have all the time in the world to indulge in it!


  4. I remember the first outdoor chess match I watched while standing on a sidewalk in Belgium ~ life size pieces moved on a huge chalk drawn board. Love your poem.

  5. Coming back after a long absence and reading your beautiful words is a little bit like coming home after a hard day at work. Love this piece, as always!

  6. Some glorious lines in this piece: “winners
    take it all and pawns are sacrificed for kings” – that pretty much sums up the way of the world. Love the expression on the faces of the little ones learning that hard lesson.

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