finals season

He asks, do you follow football? And I say
a little, yes,
because it’s easier than trying to explain:
your football is a language I do not speak and yet
I want nothing more than to watch it with you, to transform
into a thing of clenched fists and screams and to
mean it; ask me along and I will commit to
your team in a way I may not ever
commit to you.

Do not ask me if I care; show me
and know that if I do not already,
I soon will.

I wonder if it is a matter of belonging, if
that rowdy partisan bunch becomes a
village where a wanderer can find a home: for 90 minutes I am
with my people simply because
I exist.

Maybe it’s just nice to care about something that does not
matter, to submit to a passion that does not threaten
to undo me, to crave, sinews stretched in longing,
an outcome that I can still
live without.

Perhaps it’s a welcome salve for the
irretrievably heterosexual
(all that muscle,
all that sweat, all those men caring
so unguardedly) but it might also be a refuge for the
genteelly alcoholic: one does not really
without also

I fear it is a steam valve for a
subterranean violence, for the obscene and the
furious within me, for the eternal ugliness that
traipses in my shadow and that threatens
, if not pacified by flesh on flesh,
(blood bin, biff)
arbitrary vehemence

but is it, at last, an arena in which to partake of
all the fearlessness I will never possess? A place of
unrepentant physicality, of feats of endurance and where pain
is embraced, digested,
and finally overpowered,
a place where to break,
is to be expected,
and where a hundred thousand voices shout the names
of the brave and the bold.


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