December 8, 2019

Game Face

At playoff games, I almost kiss
the guy in G-14,
conjoined in Final Fever,
we rise together
for each full court press,
toes clenched as though it’s our feet
launched in size 15 Adidas for the dunk. 

G-14 high fives me (H-13, behind),
we whoop and slosh our beer,
his hand a trifle clammy, as is mine
from cold draft condensation
and raw thrill.

Regular season
we barely say hello,
absorbed in cellphone screens and nacho chips,
the game more pleasant MUZAK
than battle to the death.

We take the requisite selfies,
fingers crooked in v’s or No. 1’s
but our fire is a flicker,
cheers mumbled reluctant
when the announcer begs for NOISE.

G-14’s a contract plumber,
the type I don’t run into
till my main line cracks,
I’m a West Coast liberal elite
who likes my Chardonnay with oak.

But during playoffs, we become
one nation indivisible —
I disregard his MAGA cap,
his “Duck Dynasty” beard,
he overlooks my silk-screened tee
with Che Guevara’s face. 

We chat all night of stats, DL’s,
the likelihood of trades,
not politics or world events
or Fake News/Fox News lies.  

United for the W, we root
our home team home,
hearts swelled with eager bonhomie
distrust diluted in sweat,
devoted band of brothers
when we’re driving for the net.