Friday, January 18, 2013

Some Short Poems about Football

The high-pressure cold was nothing
compared to picking chicken feathers
in crabboil summer on the Eastern Shore
or listening to Brother Ray pontificate
about the best chicken wings in Halethorpe,
so he put on his hairshirt of solid purple prose,
Concord grape you can practically taste,
that doesn’t fire until they see the whites in his eyes,
the shirt heard round the world,
to rally round the purple boys,
the purple mountains majesty
to chill the Rocky Mountain high.

They’re addicted to being exonerated
by the world's most miserable man,
who pours the milk of human kindness
down the drain and says “so much for that
– now what can you do for me that isn’t
hateful or self-serving?”
as he assaults our common sense
with his painful rigmarole
of algorithmic cleverness,
relentless Baltimore logic;
that’s why we watch the games,
to see if he’s lost a wisp of that
irremediable grey hoodie rage
at how broken is his being,
how everyone else is great
and he is poison
(along with all the people
unfortunate enough
to tag along with him)
– it tastes not quite so bitter
when you beat them back:
the heroes unassailable.

Matty Ice
Matty Ice from Filthadelphia
spends the off-season fishing
at Badwater,
lighting scorpions on fire,
waiting for the piano
on a dock loose from its mooring
to play "The Ballad of the Loneliest Monk"
as it floats down Furnace Creek
off a mold-free roll from Terre Haute
like an old soft shoe
in the new high tide.

He’d jerk
the phone book
if he could.

Manti Teo
It’s all so deciduously insidious…
the Polynesians with their secret kava fruits,
and the women who don’t play in the NFL
only for the sake of the children;
it’s just the Goddess playing with us
to show she’s more than a fake girlfriend,
her love mere human violence can’t dislodge.

It’s the last game of the season,
everything at stake,
Cowboys versus Redskins,
and the Jesus of Cool knows
he has to have a bad game,
he has to give them something
not off his Superman shoulders
for his team to win
and the country to survive
hanging in the balance
off the fiscal cliff;
the legislators burn
the midnight Redskin oil,
the one perspiring smell
they will always agree on,
to see him pull out
with the impossible humility required
from his sun-splashed
dreadlocked hat
his greatest illusion yet,
to suck not bad enough to lose,
to be the leader true enough
for Alfred, the Robin to his Batman,
to load the rocks himself upon the truck
and for the Football Gods to be inspired
in Lichtensteiger, Polumbus and Garcon
while he makes like a one-legged charity saint, smiling
so the poor don’t have to die.

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