Pool Stories & Poems
Pool & Billiards Poems
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Pool & Billiards Poems

On this page are pool and billiards poems that have been submitted to me and accepted. Because they have no home on the internet, I've decided to post them here. If you have a poem about pool, email it to me and I'll consider it. Who knows, it could just show up on my pool poems page.

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The Blood-Red Cue
by David E. Malone

(March 2002)

Back in the days when the old Gods ruled amid ignorance and strife
A cue was built of sacred wood from a branch of the tree of life.
The ferrule was carved from the bone of a roc and the points were unicorn.
And the stain was made from the blood of a child who had died while being born.
The shaft was as straight as a willow wand and the tip was hard as stone,
It was leather cured from a Minotaur's hide before it was fully-grown.
There were runes upon the shoulder and the joint was silver chased
And the wrap was the silk from a golden worm with damask interlaced.
Some say it was built by one of the Gods. Some say a craftsman true.
But the maker gave his heart and soul in the birth of the blood-red cue.

I first saw the cue when money was tight and the pawnshop had some cues;
It was one of a parcel of Brunswick sticks that nobody else would use.
But I needed some cues to put on the rack... for the local bangers to try.
I was just about to throw this one out when the blood red caught my eye.
I cleaned it up with mineral oil and I could see that it was old
And something about the way it felt made me take a tighter hold...
No-one was there but the bartender Nat as I set-up a 9-ball rack
And I broke 'em up with a house-cue and then put the sucker back.
The first shot I played I felt this surge... like wild music in the night...
And my shaking hands were firm again and my eyes were clear and bright.
I ran that rack, and then again... I've never played so well.
That blood-red cue had come alive - just like a magic spell.
I took it home in trembling hands and late I pondered this...
Would my troubled conscience let me use a cue that couldn't miss?

Now I am old. I've had my time as the world's best billiard pro. I never lost and rarely scratched, and I watched my legend grow.
But before I die I have this need to set the record straight.
My whole life has been a sham - you wouldn't want my fate.
I felt no pride when I took each prize, no pleasure when I won,
My conscience pricked me every time when I thought what I had done.
So I found a brat called Willie who was hard-up for a cue.
I figure there's not much an Italian kid with one bad eye could do...
And if you ever come across that enchanted blood-red pole,
I'll leave it to your judgment and the scruples of your soul.
Think of this my youthful friend, if my life you would repeat,
It ain't worth the fame and fortune... because you'll be a cheat.
I'm lying here in a feather bed - but still I cannot rest.
I'm haunted by this secret that weighs heavy on my chest.
And when I die, will I rest gentle in that hearse?
And is that ancient blood-red cue a blessing... or a curse?

©2002 by David E. Malone

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Custom Cues
by David E. Malone

(February 2002)

I have a hunger for custom cues
Their sheen, patina, varied hues
Their silver, ivory, reds and blues
I have a hunger for custom cues

I have a longing for rare wood.
Gabon ebony, it's understood,
Compared to maple's twice as good.
I have a longing for rare wood.

I am in love with precious stones
Onyx, Jade, and Fossil Bones
Should decorate a cue one owns...
I am in love with precious stones.

I fall asleep to ivory dreams.
Inlays, ferrules, points... It seems
My appetite exceeds my means.
I fall asleep to ivory dreams.

I awake to thoughts of Richard Black,
Or Scruggs, or Mottey... back-to-back
with Kikels, Perrys on my rack.
I awake to thoughts of Richard Black.

I have this love for custom cues
Great works of art but made to use.
What mortal player could refuse
To be in love with custom cues?

©2002 by David E. Malone

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The Grass-Green Baize
by David E. Malone

(January 2002)

I was stumbling along the sidewalk - hadn't eaten for days...
When I sensed the smell of a poolhall, the scent of the grass-green baize.
I stood transfixed in the fading light as the memories flooded in
And I thought of the way my life had been before the spell of the rotgut gin.
I heard the click of the clashing spheres and the crack of the breaking balls
And I remembered playing for jellybeans in the smoke of the sleazy halls...

It was Sunday, late in the afternoon - I was going to confess my sin
I worshipped God in the bottle and I prayed at the altar of gin.
But I rested up by this open door and the music wafted wide
And a wrinkled old man with a dirty shirt beckoned me inside.
I only went in because the rain was cold. I knew I should never have tried
Only sometimes, son, the devil himself will take you for a ride...

There was a crowd of people there - and the buzz of a money game.
I knew that sound and I knew that I shouldn't, but I went there just the same.
There was the local boy with his Justis case and his custom SouthWest cue
And the out-of-towner, a rumpled roadie, who looked like he'd had a few...
His eyes were wild and he seldom smiled and he took a cue from the rack
It was bent like a bow but he appeared not to know and declined to put it back.

I had a finn I'd nicked that morning from the pocket of a careless whore
And I looked for the fellow holding the stakes because I'd seen all this before.
Only last time I looked it was me at the table and me with that rumpled look
And I laughed cause I knew that my money was safe on the back of that scrawny crook.
My laugh sounded loud in the pregnant hush, as the game got under way
But I didn't care what the punters thought as I watched them begin to play.

The star got out to an early lead - his stroke was smooth and clean
(While the other feller's stroke was maybe the worst you've ever seen...)
But as the game wore on his awkward stick began to straighten out
And slowly as a turtle's trot the numbers turned about.
The local's hands began to shake - the sweat ran down his face
And before the midnight hour had rung I knew he'd lost the race.

I should have left that moment with my winnings in my hand
But something made me stay there although it wasn't what I planned.
And as I watched the crowd dispersed and left the table bare
And only me and that S.O.B. were left still standing there.
Our gazes met and his eyes widened as I think he saw his fate
But he only winked and said, "Put up that wad and play some straight?"

The room went dark and the music dimmed as I picked up a cue
And I began to work this trivial thing just like I used to do.
My arm got loose and my mind went blank as I set back the years.
And I lost myself in the rhythm, in the music of the spheres...
Time went by and the balls went down and I permitted myself a smile
I had one ball left and I hesitated... and then missed it by a mile!

"Hey, old man. " The hustler said, "I'm a hustler - not a fool
I know you missed on purpose... But that's cool...
I'm going to make you pay the price for making that mistake.
I don't know what your game is but I'm taking home your stake."
And as he played I watched his face - he wasn't having fun.
Seems each ball got more difficult as he thought what I had done.

But still he won, and threw the cue, and cussed me up and down.
His eyes were full of tears and he looked all beaten down.
"I win", He cried, "But I have to know... why did you miss that shot?
You could've drank for days with all these jellybeans I've got..."
"Don't you see...", I calmly said, "you're where I used to be...
If you don't change professions, son, you'll soon be just like me."

So he broke down and wept because he knew it was the truth.
His life was going nowhere and he'd thrown away his youth.
"You're right", he said. "I'm going back to where I started out -
I'm looking for a real job and I'll turn my life about..."
And as he wept I swiped the cash and the wallet from his vest
Cause when it comes to hustling, son, I am the very best!

©2002 by David E. Malone

These poems are presented here with permission of the author. You may be interested in reading Hamster Tales: Pool & Billiards, a great book by David E. Malone!

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Pool Hall Days

days fell away in zen-lucid
   ball smacking cadence
it was a hazy time
we of age lived within the fog
   of 'Nam and Draft
guys settled arguments with fists
and fast cars and motorcycles
   smoking tires on country roads
   was part of life (ain't nobody like
   serious rural motorheads
we were in love out of love
inventing new candles to burn
and that soft dead clack of pool balls &
their satisfying plunk into a leather pocket
offered a respite from an angry world
   a better kind of instant gratification
   than most of our other available choices

beneath chain-hung metal light fixtures
   we lost ourselves in the expanse
   of great felt greens glowing softly
   in blue swirling tobacco haze
   as we executed evolving strategy
   inhaling victory and defeat
   with cigarette fidget
   on snowy days and tee shirt nights
   feeding the obsession

and as we learned to abandon control
we were rewarded with
absolute focus and
lightning cue stick magic
burning alive
in our hands

         --Dean McClain,
         from 'Splitsville'

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The Perfect Match
by Carrie Williams

Walking in, immediately at peace as I glance through the smoke sweeping in and out of the lights as they beam down on the freshly felted table. This is my cell, my chamber of love. Shake the hand of your opponent, a peace agreement between convicts of all nature, all there for different reasons. The flip of the coin is like a guard previewing your fate. A sigh of relief as the coin lands and I'm not the one in confinement. The balls are racked, strategically placed like standing in front of the judge waiting to hear the sentence. The sound that the cue ball makes as it hits the rack, like the bars clashing shut while I map out a plan. In perfect harmony the escape route is visible. One stroke at a time with confidence and precision, slowly working through the biggest risks I'll ever take. A Release, to feel the beautiful sunshine on the other side. Passion overflowing while trying to hold on to every second as the eight ball falls, destiny has been revealed. The walk away from the table only takes a few seconds but feeling like eternity, cross the threshold to freedom. Time served, most have already forgotten that the crime was committed but I will not forget. Memories, like a movie I play over and over in my head trying to hold on tight to all past, present and future. Learning from the mistakes, weighing the odds, controlling the angles and trying desperately again to find the perfect match...

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