What Is Football?

What is football?
days watching men collide
between beer commercials
hours spent, taken by
network television

What is football?
toss the pigskin, eat grilled meat
tailgate with chubby fans
wearing jerseys in parking lots
full of charcoal and puke

What is football?
weightlifting, combine, chalk lines
running 40 yard sprints
hands reaching out, cradling
touchdowns, drunk cheers and jeers

What is football?
sleep-deprived coaches studying
film, like planning D-Day’s invasion
toradol shots blocking pain to
endure injuries that linger lifelong

What is football?
bull in the ring, he got his bell rung
concussion, brain banging, cells dying
headaches, depression, careers over
hobbled husbands, broken bodies

Pontiac

my daughter already talks about the
car she wants an Audi, new, shiny
that her friends will admire like
her iPhone with apps that take
wrinkles out of faces in photos

I tell her about my maroon
dented station wagon, Pontiac
1986 Michigan-made to barely
last past puberty

I parked it with pride
my piece of remembering
that life is unreliable
always ready to
start then stop

blind to history my daughter
will never know the struggle of
driving a car that quit, gave up

for her they don’t exist
like rotary phones
like an indigenous name
turned into painted steel

Writing in Bed

exhaling visible emotion
ink onto page
alive each night if
only for these moments
toes touch sheets happy

the hours before are done
no more plodding through city
streets in laced up leather
free naked now
words moving across the page

composition notebook
indenting with cursive letters
pressing down, scribbled lines
fragments of thought
searching for truth night after night

sometimes finding things
like an old Hot Wheels car in
the sandbox, pull it out
examine chipped paint
try to recall when it was lost

describe what it looks like
loose front tire, red Camaro
“this is it,” I think
to reclaim, touch memory
unearth myself, the buried parts