Friday, May 22, 2009

Черная карта

I love to watch my coach in competition
(well, love and dread
Sometimes it’s both in equal measure)
After I bomb out
I find his pod and settle in to watch the
Opera, drama, Grand Guignol
Braiding my damp hair while
Waiting for the curtain’s rise

The first DEs are prelude
Overture, a preface to the show
Simple touches,
Economy of effort
Humor, joy, exhilaration
Shining through his actions
Very little hint of what’s to come

Climbing up the ladder
Always, there’s a point where
Things get tight
Storm clouds rumble in the wings
Foreshadowing the tumult that’s to come
Disturbing echoes of the past

Cue the tactically timed delays
To wipe the face
Adjust the mask
Straighten the blade…repeatedly
The ref would never let me get away with this
Somehow, he pulls it off, if only just

At last, the crunch
The score is close, the calls perhaps a little warped
And (hold on tight) the tempest breaks
The air is ionized with his intensity
Every atom vibrates, close to nuclear implosion
--Stomping back and forth
--Jamming his weapon’s tip into the floor
--“Requests” for explanation (with thinly veiled contempt
And indignation)

He’s awesome in his lack of inhibition
Truly a force of nature
(A fecund nature that brings hail, earthquake, wildfire, flood
And similar disasters
Oblivious to human cost)

Spectators shift and murmur
Distressed by this uncouth deviation from the script
Of civilized convention
His opponent’s contingent (teammates, relatives)
Cluck and disapprove
Try to parse his Slavic exclamations
Comment loudly for the ref to overhear
A harpy chorus chanting from the sides

He takes it to the edge
And frequently beyond
The bout becomes a 3-way contest
Coach, opponent, referee
A triangle of politics, emotion and (oh, right) athletic skill

It’s then, when tension ratchets to the max
I fix my gaze on the ref’s hand
Watch its every twitch and drift
In the direction of her
Blazer pocket
I hold my breath
Alert anticipation
Will the cards stay safely tucked
Inside, if not, which color will emerge?

But ready to skedaddle, fast
If things go wrong--
Not losing, necessarily
A clean touch
A clever act
All good enough, and worthy of respect
But if the timing’s off, a call that deviates from his conviction of
The proper application of the rules then
Watch out
Rage formerly contained within the strip
Bursts its bounds
Becomes a solar flare
That singes anything within its orbit

Now is a golden time to be elsewhere
Preferably innocent of how the bout played out
Who me? I was changing in the locker. What did I miss?

1 comment:

  1. Yep.... I try to be conveniently elsewhere when he leaves the strip :P