The fifth poem in the Moment Poetry collection is ‘The Problem with Magic Shows’ by Cora Ruskin.
In Las Vegas, around 2am, I figured out what the problem was.
It’s that I love magic but
I don’t like magicians.
Love all that flash-bang mindfuckery, the impossibility
of something from nothing,
of nothing from something.
Don’t like the men who do it.
Their gloves and masks,
their naked teeth,
their stupid hats.
Their assistants who smile as they’re sawn in half.
The way they make me ache
and spill five dollars’ worth of M&Ms.
The next night, I met a man who loved magicians but
didn’t like magic.
He loved their wolfish smiles
and oversized toys
and the nervous boys they used to be.
The way they ate up attention
like they’d been all alone for a year.
Didn’t care for their silly stunts.
A means to an end,
a puppet show to send the kids to sleep,
a dumb fantasy.
He’d take the solidity of flesh and bones.
We clinked glasses
and were soulmates for one evening
until he got beckoned backstage
and I found some magic to watch.