Monday, January 23, 2012

Handful of Dust: An NFC Poetry Slam

Remember the Coffee Klatsch?

The Klatsch is a bunch of friends I worked with in the 90’s. Shin, Cormie, Stod, and I had many things in common: we worked in publishing, were literary dilettantes, admirers of select female colleagues, and nostalgic sports fans.

We also differed on important subjects, like war and economics and modern literature and Jennifer Aniston (for the record, I'm in favor of two, against one, and conflicted on another).

Anyway, back in 1990 when the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers met in the regular season Shin and I made a bet: if the Niners won I would write a poem in their honor; if the Giants won, he would do the same*. We repeated the bet for the NFC Championship game and later playoff games.

* Did I mention we were literary dilettantes?

The Niners won a classic game, of course, and I wrote a sports masterpiece that sadly, like most of Sophocles’ plays, is lost*. Shin repaid in January, and we went back and forth a few times over the years with various sports and teams.

* All the stars on those Niner teams had names that were also words, which I used to brilliant effect. Brilliant, that is, if you were a six year old who loved bad puns. There was ‘running Watters’ and ‘hit a Lott’ and ‘no white on that Rice’ and ‘Young arm’ (Steve) and "Young massive torso" (Bryant)...well, you get the point.

Over the past week, Shin, Cormie and I – with a nudge from Stod and a whisper from BAM (our Stu Sutcliffe, sans tumor) – engaged in the nerdiest trash talking of the year. Here, I give you, the NFC Poetry Slam:

Pre Game Trash Talk

The roars were audible from Brisbane to Nyack
When Alex said simply, "Boys, get on my back"
Smith ran round Osi and right over J. Tuck
Grabbed his crotch and said "Eat my PeePee, JPP, you miserable f*ck"
He's vanished his demons, fulfilled all his whims
Hell, he's almost Montana, much better than Simms.

There once was a guy from New York
Who got mad when we called Simms a dork
He talked lots of smack
But took much of it back
Through a rhyme scheme that almost did work.

Keatang (last line should be read like you're Seinfeld's mother):
He was picked number one and the orchestras sung,
But for a half dozen years he played like horse dung,
A sweep left for a score,
To Vernon for one more,
And suddenly he's Montana and Young?

Since the day I was born I have loved me some Giants*
Just the sound of the word is like a brand new appliance
So yes, I hate me some Dodgers
And they should have picked Rodgers
But they'll clobber New York in defiance

* ed: he refers to the San Francisco Giants

Corm (channeling Robert Burns, after Eli missed practice with a stomach ailment):
Wee, sleekit, cowring tim'rous beastie
Eli, what gurglins in thy breastie
Thou need na start excuse so hasty
Wi burbling belly
Fear the Niners wad rin an chase thee
Wi murdering prattle.

Corm (channeling Thomas Percy, letting Alex know he’s not quite there yet):
And when yon task be fifteen yeere old
Then shall you be crowned kinge
Brisbaine’s Tana, that was once uprore
You did to quiet bring.
First strike the Giants from the realm
Dared they opprest this land
To Canton then, throughe manly feates
of football, head and hand.

BAM (poor guy’s a Browns fan, and has no dog in this fight):
Now NFL Football it ain't my best game
The Cleveland Browns they're just f*cking lame
But on a bandwagon I jump
Both Giants and Niners I trump
So either team can win, I'm the same.

Post Game Loser’s Poems

On account of how I now know more of their names
And that yesterday was the first in forever where I watched two football games
I can say Brady's a fighter, and, it looks like, a lover
Manning's a winner, maybe even better than big brother
The Harbaughs a nice story but that one is over
Victor from UMass should be rolling in clover
The Giants are mighty and making big millions
And they should send partial share to Kyle Effing Williams.

Corm (channeling T.S. Eliot):
January is the cruelest month
Giants from back east, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Niner brains with spring rain
Fall kept us warm, a season's
Generous dose of forgetful snow, feeding
a fan's life with dried tubers
Eli surprised us, coming over the middle
To Cruz balls dropped like rain, tween our colonnade
And ran to sunlight, into the Superbowl
We drank beer, and talked it over
Bin kar keine Niner, stamm aus New York echt Giant 20
We cannot say or guess, for no one knows
A heap of broken images, where Williams stands
And the dead season gives no shelter, no relief, 17
From this dry stone no water,
Only Eli, whose shadow rose to meet us
Ending our year in a handful of dust

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