Emmanuel Cheats

posted Aug 2, 2016

At cards. At poker. At golf. At solitaire. At cribbage. Horseshoes. Tennis. Quizzes. Memory. Scrabble. Rubik's cube. Blackjack. Candyland. Tic Tac Toe. Puzzles. The Game of Life. Money markets. Bingo. Hearts. Spades. Oh Hell. He does it in the open or secretly, whatever the situation calls for. Cheating is taking something that is being given to you. Winning proves nothing but there's no point in losing. If it can't walk, make it walk. Unless you don't want it to walk and you wait to see if it will learn to build wheels. Cheating is a shortcut to what you want. It's what gods do best. When you're lonely, you cheat a world. Deal the cards.

Chris Haven is working on a series about Terrible Emmanuel, a cranky, fallible figure who considers himself to be the supreme being. Other Emmanuel poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Sycamore Review, Zone 3, Whiskey Island, Hotel Amerika, Poet Lore, interrupture, and Seneca Review, where they won the Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Prize.

He teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Haven’s poem “Emmanuel Runs” also appears in this issue.