Friday, December 18, 2009

LOTTERY MAN (poem & podcast)

Please click play to enjoy an audio reading

Back when I worked at the luncheonette,
I remember the guy used to come
in every day. Sometimes twice.

He'd sit at the counter, order his coffee,
break out his pad and pencil and began
to jot down numbers. All sorts
of fucking numbers.

Every page would be dated and under
each day, he would jot down the
winning lottery numbers in pencil.
Licking the tip each time before he wrote,
he'd mumur to himself, almost trance-like.

Lottery Man would analyze the numbers
by tabulating how many odd and even
winners came up per week, month
and year. He'd jot down odd facts
like how often '3' would appear and
would often say if he could get rid of
any number, it would be easily be '9.'

He'd call me 'Sonny...' and would ask
me to steal him an instant rub-off on
the sly at least once a week. When I
declined, 'Sonny...' became 'Mary...'
and Phil the owner would usually give
him more coffee, as if he needed it.

I knew his son. We were the same age
and all I could think was, 'Why aren't
you home with him?'

Lottery Man would win now and again and
usually brag about what he'd buy
his family. One year it was a computer,
then a microwave. He always said
he wanted a video camera but never
got one.

When I quit for college, he bought me
an instant rub-off for good luck.
The last thing I remember about
about Lottery Man was splitting our
winnings which bought me my books.
Here's hoping he got that camera...

"Lottery Man" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by Bossa2 "Cuando Vuelva a Tu Lado" and provided by Jamendo.


  1. Another winner. I liked the feel of this one.

  2. Smooth voice ya got there, Ant. I dug the whole thing. It's cool to think Lottery Man actually knew what the hell he was doing.

  3. I like this guy. Knows what he is doing, even if he appears to be a bit of a crackpot. Love the reading as well. Thanks!!

  4. The flow of Lottery Man is fantastic. I like the sprinkle of details you added, and loved the simplicity of what he'd buy: a microwave and oneday, a video camera.

    Slick and jazzy.

  5. I really think you should take your podcasts further - your voice and your writes are brilliant together.

    I feel like Lottery Man is an archetype – that essence of struggle, denial, and hope. He lives in both the city and country, and I think each of us has had a run in with him at sometime, somewhere.

    Love these, thank you!

  6. Your poem put me there, in the diner, with the LM. Great funky yet smooth rhythm. Peace, Linda

  7. I enthusiastically second what Erin Cole said. The "archetype" and all. Her comment is essentially what I had planned to say, but hers is more eloquent.

    Thank you, Anthony, for the touching piece, and thank you Erin, for saving me a lot of trouble trying to think of the wording I wanted.

  8. I wish I could hear the voice. I don't understand why I can't. I have verything cranked up. At least
    I can read it. Nice prose poem,
    vivid and believable.

  9. Another great BBPP. I was confused at first about the term "instant rub-off" -- that kinda means something else here in the UK. (We call them scratch-cards.) I felt the relaxed atmosphere and could almost smell the coffee and hear the scribbling of pencil-lead against crumpled paper. I was a nice place. Thanks.

  10. But 9's my favourite number!

    Great, smooth feel to this.

  11. Lovely. I always enjoy hearing your voice. You have such a relaxed reading style. This was a great character piece. Lottery man felt like a real guy and the coffee shop was lived in and vivid.


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