The Ampersand


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PO’ ET

Top lock for bottom incisors, canines
Door of ‘ortunity is not my opp’
Key to the city cut like the skyline
That’s why I don’t ball up my fist and knock
Hey, photographers, those aren’t lights at night
Bite marks on landmarks sinking teeth into
Playing matchmaker ‘til love at first sight
Orifice meets office, room thirty-two
The mismatches tell a better story
Darkness scattered in random directions
Scared, running from a litt Jason Voorhees
Even the puck and ice a good reference
Damn, one percent left, it’s time to phone home
Hung up when I realized I live alone

3 Reasons Why I Didn’t Start Playing The Lottery After My Uncle’s Winnings

I didn’t want to write this. I didn’t want to write this because I don’t want to be responsible for my uncle having 964 new cousins. But I have to write this. I have to write this to flush these annoying thoughts out of head in hopes of this shit sticking to the page. Thoughts like, “If I had that money I would buy this, I would buy that. I would do this, I would do that.” Why the hell am I counting and spending another man’s money?! I only did this probably twice in my life and the thoughts were in passing, but this time it’s been consistent ever since I was told. I know of millionaires and billionaires, but the key words are “know of.” I don’t truly know them. I never met them. I don’t know if they look like their pictures, if they’re shorter in person, if their breath stink. But this hit closer to home. A home I’ve been to countless times. A home I’ve spent the night at. A home I’ve spent holidays at. A home with a backyard I’m scared to go in because of a big ass black dog named Missy. Please, somebody tell me! What is this phenomenon called? Where something impactful (bad or good) happens to a relative and you think it happened to you too, like y’all share the same body, the same mind, the same lifestyle. It’s weird. And people, please take a harder look at your junk mail. I was cleaning up and shredding papers when I came across a check from a settlement payment. I was a Settlement Class Member in a class action lawsuit from the time I was employed at this warehouse. By the time I saw the check it was 3 weeks passed the 150 days I had to cash it. Only $13.07 but I needed that little money to go with some other little money to make some little big money, ya feel me? Sigh. Without further ado …

He deserved it.

He has a history of winning. In the mid 2000’s, he was rewarded $20,000 from a court settlement due to a job-related incident. Weeks after his recent lottery winnings of a half of million, he played again and won thousands. In the 90’s, he won over the heart of a woman who keeps my heart clogged up with lasagna and cheesecake: my aunt. Unfortunately, he also has a history of loss. In the early 2000’s, I lost my cousin, their first child together. 3 years ago, they were displaced after their apartment unit went up in flames.

I don’t believe in it.

The only time I ever used a coin, a key, a fingernail to scratch off a lottery ticket is when this car company sent me some mail that said if I get wam-wam-wam in a row I would win a truck. During this time I was naïve to marketing tactics companies use to get foot traffic in their store, so, of course, I got excited when I got wam-wam-wam in order. Know the first person I call? My favorite aunt. She took me to the dealership and I expected to leave off the lot in separate cars. The only thing I left with I didn’t come with was a sucker. No, seriously, they gave me some candy. I didn’t understand the symbolism behind that then, but as of writing, you better believe I do. Although, buying lottery tickets won’t break the bank it’s something I don’t want making my bank either. This has nothing to do with the horror stories you heard about past lotto winners. I’m an entrepreneur and I feel I have a better chance at selling a million scratch devices. Let me pitch you! What do you think of a newly designed coin used solely for scratching off the UV ink on lottery tickets? Instead of dead presidents and monuments no one really visits, how about on the front of the coin it’s a past lotto winner and on the back of the coin it’s a gas station? Insanely great, right? This will be your lucky coin, your lucky charm! 100 on 4 please!

It’s my way of pretending I never heard the news to begin with.

I’m not asking which convenience store he went to. I’m not asking which numbers he played. I’m not trying to act like I didn’t get mad that time he splashed water on me at the pool. I’m not trying to remind him of all the times he playfully asked me to borrow money when I was a kid. I’m not trying to sit around talking about basketball all day and how much I love LeBron James (I will confess my love for the King to any peasant). I’m not trying to educate my aunt on how dirt is more conspicuous on black cars and offer to wash her new Camaro, annnnnd ask to go for a spin in it. I’m not trying to babysit my cousin (their surviving child). My grandma never came over to my place that day and the first thing she said to me after not talking to me in 2 weeks was not “My favorite son-in-law just won $440,000 playing the lottery.” It’s none of my business! It’s none of my business! It’s none of YOUR business, woman!

Would you start playing the lottery after a family member won a significant amount of money? Why or why not?

Unemployed Dream

My alarm clock is my cuddle buddy not in the bed the following morning

Going from a “hey big head” to a airhead, from a booty pillow to a bubble butt always wakes me up

Her schedule waits for no man

“Why you have me do the big spoon, little spoon when you knew you had to work?”

“Bear, I told you I had to get up at 6, and we did the butt ‘cheek-to-cheek.’ Remember you ripped the bedsheets with your big toe nail when we played footsie? Look!”

“Well, who was I hugging from the back?”

“Maybe your dream girl.”

“Describe her.”

“Unemployed.”

“…”

“Now baby I have to go. Your Captain Crunch is getting cold. It’s on the table, been sitting in the milk for 15 minutes which is long enough for it not to mess up the roof of your mouth. Now give me a kiss peace. A closed-mouth one though. You got morning breath. I don’t want to have to brush my teeth all over again. You know toothpaste makes me gag.”

“Me too.”

“What we don’t have in common?”

“Hmm. We’re not in the same bed right now.”

“What about now?”

“You’re leaning over the bed. Technically, no body part is in it.”

“Now?”

“You have a really pretty smooth sore-free, arrow-less left knee. Looks way better than mines. Butttttt there are a few body parts I think I like a little bit better.”

“Hmm. This one?”

“Wait. Wait. Before you sit your ass on the bed long enough to make a smiley face imprint you should remember one important thing … you have to go to work.”

“Haven’t you heard?”

“What?”

“I’m unemployed.”

two YOU's in future