Monday, November 6, 2017

Peter M. Gordon


I met Bill in a bar on the lower East Side.
He liked to drink and I liked to listen.
After one martini Bill shared his secret:

"Always tell the mark what he wants to hear."
Bill made good money on the grift, as he
liked to call it. Now in his sixties, hands

no longer steady enough to deal off the
bottom of the deck or switch two-dollar
bills with twenties, he reminisced about

how he roped marks like a rodeo champ.
Ponzi schemes, wire cons, badger games,
the Iraqi dinar, the Spanish Prisoner.

He played them all in his heyday. Lived
high. When drunk, Bill could still give a
cold reading to raise the hair on your

neck. I wondered why such an artist
sat on a stool night after night swapping
stories, caging free drinks. After I paid the

tab Bill snapped, "Give me a fin."
I passed him a fiver. "Come back
tomorrow," Bill said. "I’ll bilk you again."

Peter reads "Confidence Man":

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Peter confesses: "I met hustlers of all stripes growing up in New York City. I was reading about current cons in AARP and remembered how hustlers liked to brag about their scores. Bill is an amalgam of several guys I knew when Hell’s Kitchen was still a tough neighborhood."

PETER M. GORDON's poems have appeared in magazines, books and websites, including Slipstream, the Journal of Florida Literature, 34th Parallel, Cultural Weekly, and Sandhill Review. He's a past President of Orlando Area Poets, the largest chapter of the Florida State Poetry Association. He has two collections in print: Two Car Garage and Let's Play Two: Poems About Baseball. Peter teaches in Full Sail University's Film Production M.F.A. program.

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