The line is from "Comment #1."
I know that a "hole card" is a card in poker (and apparently also blackjack) that is dealt face-down. But I'm unclear on what it means for that card to be piqued.
Does this mean that everyone is wondering what the card is, i.e. their curiosity has been piqued? Or does it imply that people are beginning to know what the card is, whether by card-counting or some other means?
My questions are:
Is this a term in card playing that I was unaware of, to say the "hole card has been piqued?"
If not, what is Gil Scott-Heron expressing with this line?
The time is in the street you know
Us living, as we do, upside down
And the new word to have is "revolution"
People don't even want to hear the preacher spill or spiel
Because God's hole card has been thoroughly piqued
And America is now blood and tears instead of milk and honey
This is a spoken-word poem from 1970. Some young people know the verse better because it was sampled by Kanye West in the song "Who will survive in America," but that sample omits many of the stanzas. The complete original poem can be heard here on Youtube.
With help from the comments section, it seems that there are a few card-playing references to the word "pique." In the game Piquet (pronounced /ˈpiːkeɪ/), a player who scores 30 points against an opponent scores a "pique." It could also be related to the French "pique" meaning the spades suit. It's also been suggested that "piqued" in this case is a homophonic play on "peeked," suggesting that "God's hole card" has been "peeked at." There are a few other cases of homophony in the poem:
- Whole / hole
- Spiel / spill
- Freedom / Free doom.
I'm still seeking any precedent for "piqued" having a clear meaning in this context. It's possible that Scott-Heron was simply saying "peeked," but that would mean that every transcription of the poem I've been able to find is incorrect.