“Playing the Game” by John Bennett

John Bennett


Nine-eleven-96-hike the ball to the split-end the tight-end to the
end of the known world fling the fucker between your legs
and prepare to meet your maker as an army of 300-pounders beefed
up on steroids and quarter-pounders comes rolling over
you but what the fuck what the hell let the thunder die in your ears
as they go on their merry way in hot pursuit and then pick
yourself up and limp over to the sidelines where the coach will slap
you on the ass and the waterboy will slap you on the ass
and all the guys on the bench jump up and slap you on the ass you
did your job you set the ball in motion and even tho
you’re no 6-digit superstar you’re essential to the game and people
speak of you fondly if they speak of you at all which they
really don’t that much and ten years down the line maybe less
probably more like five when you’re drunk on a stool in the
last of the skidrow bars even the bartender won’t know your name
and he’s been a sports fan since before he could walk
which you can barely manage yourself drunk all the time on cheap
wine and one day you can’t even go in there you’re on a
park bench in a big overcoat with no pants underneath not pants and
a ridiculous pajama top and no you’re no pervert this is
just what it’s come down to and here comes that cop on a horse again
twirling his billy move on move on the words echoing
in your confusion you look around but there’s no place left to go and
then you look up and there is this world of winter
branches latticed against a blue sky. Something lifts something lifts
big time go there you think go there and you do.

from Rattle #15, Summer 2001
Tribute to the Underground Press


John Bennett: “I am an iconoclast to the point that I don’t trust the word iconoclast. I’m big on elasticity and spontaneity and—more than anything—motion.” (website)

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