Old Men Playing Basketball
By B.H. Fairchild
The heavy bodies lunge, the broken language
of fake and drive, glamorous jump shot
slowed to a stutter. Their gestures, in love
again with the pure geometry of curves,
rise toward the ball, falter, and fall away.
On the boards their hands and fingertips
tremble in tense little prayers of reach
and balance. Then, the grind of bone
and socket, the caught breath, the sigh,
the grunt of the body laboring to give
birth to itself. In their tolling and grand
sweeps, I wonder, do they still make love
to their wives, kissing the undersides
of their wrists, dancing the old soft-shoe
of desire? And on the long walk home
from the VFW, do they still sing
to the drunken moon? Stands full, clock
moving, the one in army fatigues
and houseshoes says to himself, pick and roll,
and the phrase sounds musical as ever,
radio crooning songs of love after the game,
the girl leaning back in the Chevy's front seat
as her raven hair flames in the shuddering
light of the outdoor movie, and now he drives,
gliding toward the net. A glass wand
of autumn light breaks over the backboard.
Boys rise up in old men, wings begin to sprout
at their backs. The ball turns in the darkening air.
I discovered this yesterday in the 'Poet's Choice' column by Edward Hirsch in The Washington Post Book World, always one of the highlights of my Sundays.
I am very, very, very swamped. My editors appear to have no appreciation for the fact that things they can do in two hours will take me four hours or more because I am new to the system and it takes me at least twice as long to check and double-check things they can take for granted because they've been doing the same things for more than three years. Also, British English comes naturally to all of them whereas I have to realise that the colours of my neighbourhood require consonants and vowels that just look wrong to me. My kids have half-days of school tomorrow and Wednesday which is just going to make my time crunch that much worse.
You know what pisses me off? People who expect feedback on their fic when they haven't bothered to feedback the last four or five things I've written. Yeah, maybe they weren't all in your favorite fandom but if you expect me to make time for your stuff you could at least give me the same courtesy. I don't care if you don't read every word I write but then don't expect me to read let alone comment on every word you write, okay? Life is too short...