Baruch November’s recent full-length book of poems, published by Main Street Rag in 2019, is entitled Bar Mitzvah Dreams. His earlier
collection of poems entitled Dry Nectars of Plenty co-won BigCityLit’s chapbook contest. His poems and short fiction have been featured in
Paterson Literary Review, Lumina, New Myths, The Forward, and Jewish Journal. For more than a decade, Baruch has taught courses in
Shakespeare, poetry, and writing at Touro College in Manhattan.
In terms of what inspired me to write this poem, I would have to say it was thinking about the attraction gambling has for many of us. I thought about how it might not even be about winning or losing, but just forgetting real life for a while. Then, waking up to see your gambling did, in the end, affect your real life. In a way, this is how gambling is a lot like a vacation because in both you cannot escape yourself, no matter how far you try to go.
Instead of a Star
It is thought to be a lucky planet
with its seven moons—
its position fortuitous
under the constellations.
The universe travels here
to become shadows inside
the infinite mouths of cabanas,
to drink thick cocktails of illusion,
to gamble under the spiraling
palm trees. If they spend
enough money, win or lose,
they forget their nagging families,
the jobs that eternally
the insatiable darkness
will meet them
at the end
of every tunnel