Flying Kings – A Poem by Mark Tulin

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Chess-Players – Honore Daumier

Poem by Mark Tulin

I watch as two homeless men
play checkers with ease and love
in a laid-back coffee shop.

They drink from their own enamel cups,
stirring fresh cream and sugar into their coffee.

One man triple jumps.
The other gets kinged
as the red and black checkers
by the hands of gnarled fingers
zig and zag, hop and skip.

They play every Wednesday
between six and eight-thirty.
They unfold an old checkerboard

that they bought from Goodwill
and ask the barista to fill their cups with coffee.

One man always triple jumps.
The other always gets kinged.
They play for hours, each waiting his turn,
forgetting about their troubles,
not just a game, but a means to an end.


About the Poet

Mark Tulin is a retired family therapist who lives in Santa Barbara, California.  His stories and poetry are published in Friday Flash Fiction, Amethyst Review, smokebox, Page and Spine, Fiction on the Web, The Drabble, Cabinet of Heed and others. His poetry chapbook is called, Magical Yogis, and his website is Crow On The Wire.

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6 thoughts

  1. This brought me wonderful memories of playing chess with my friend’s father for hours every day (I cared for him summers and holiday breaks.) Loved him. A Merchant Marine from Puerto Rico. He told wonderful stories. I will always feel divine/cosmic intervention brought us together.

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