Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

survived another birthday bender, and a poem

I think I survived another birthday bender just fine, though my stomach is a bit woogedy right now. Here's a little something I put together for yer reading pleasure. Tell me if it looks familiar to you.

I've accumulated some calories to burn and I need to go burn them, even if it makes me sick to do it.

***

Philly versus Dallas, Texas Stadium, December 25th 2006

just once i knew the way of all flesh
texas stadium was older than the players on the field.

the design was modern gladiator.
looking at the back, where huge concrete columns,
like stream-lined aquaducts, funneled the watery
beer and sewage hotdogs up and down
the coliseum stairs

the ceiling of the stadium was open,
but the sides had these wide curves to keep
the sound of the screaming fans from spilling
out onto the highways.

the sound was useful to the players on the field.
on the highways, fan noise was just more noise pollution.

the roof had this black sound-proofing sprayed all over it.
the black stuff had decayed beyond repair.
tiny torn fragments swam through the noise
to land on hooded sweatshirts

into plastic cups.

one piece as big as a black locust landed
on my leg, and i freaked.
i thought it was a bug.

my father picked thing on my leg.
he held it up. I told him that the sky
was falling.

just once i knew the way of all flesh

the black fibers sank in little strips
from the concave stadium roof
the stadium lights like noise
and the crowd still because the player
sank in little strips into their cups
of gatorade. (Philly kicked our
Cowboy asses that night)

a young woman held a sign
limp in her hand from the 30-yard line
an hour ago she was calling out to her own,
private celebrity an hour from now she'd
sit in her car in a muddy field and yawn
behind her headlights’ twin yawns.
her sign on the stadium floor
all the lights off
the little black ceiling fibers like black snow
and empty cups
and moonlight

just once i knew the way of all flesh

my father has trouble climbing stairs. he looks
up at the distance between the guard rail
and the row of seats. he has a look on his face
like he's an old man. he gets to the top just fine,
but i'm thinking about how in another ten years
i'm going to have to hold his arm. ten years ago
we were in martial arts together beating the shit
out of each other beneath kickboxing pads.

we climb over the legs of the people on our row.
we take a picture of the stadium for my mom.

he tells me about the last time he went to a football game.
he and my mom lived in denver (“This was 1975... 76?”)
and they went to a game between tampa bay and denver.
he couldn't remember the quarterbacks' names.
all anybody talks about
these days are star players, and he tells me
what he remembers about the snowy hooligans
in parking lots and the magic time
between weddings and children.

birds fly around the stadium lights, hunting
for the flies of winter.
black insulation from the roof
falls through the sky like moths. birds dive for the black strips
like taking bait.
the last time i was at a football game,
i was at a college game with a sousaphone on me
like an octopus in love.

a whistle blows.
i almost miss the kickoff.
and that's why the whistle blows:
everyone will stop talking, look up!

Look!

just once i knew the way of all flesh

some of the black bits are bigger, like large crickets.
most are just light black dandruff,
jarred loose from the stadium vibrations,
they drift into your cup of beer.

i recommend - until they build that new stadium –

drinking from the plastic bottles for sale all over.
or holding your hand over the cup
while microscopic flecks of your own skin
jarred loose in the vibrations of the screaming
blood inside of you falls into your cold beer

such tiny flecks,
you don’t even taste them

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