This was another one of my stabs at poetry a while back. It was one of my first literary stabs at trying to explain how much I’d gotten obsessed with soccer (and still am). So, for your interest (or lack of it), here’s that poem.
The Green Field (August-September 2011; Muscatine, Iowa)
In the long Saturday morning when the weekend seems to stretch so gloriously long,
I wander into the living room, coffee cup in hand,
steaming bean juice inside.
It’s the end of a long week, and I’m looking for peace.
The couch waits for me as I adjust myself into the optimal position.
The cup is right within reach on the table designed for it.
With a click and a hum,
I transport myself into another place.
The pitch stretches out on the television, rolling out as it limbers up
for the morning’s (afternoon’s?) activities.
The players file out onto the field,
hand in hand with the little boys in their too real to be costume uniforms.
It’s not like actually being there, but I still capture some of the scene.
The songs reach out to me, the songs that sound like bass sirens rolling out over the green field.
There’s shots of the fans and their chants, their scarves held high and proud;
from the ecstasy on their faces I can tell they are in a different world than their normal one.
They’re taking a ride on their fellow fans’ emotional wave.
That bass siren call rolls and splashes over the green field.
Waves of humanity are rolling across the stands, supporting sheets of banners, badges, and slogans.
Colored lights and smoke, horns and drums crashing, escape from the stand
Where the ultras hold court.
All of it adds joy to my soul.
But it’s right after they shake hands and we see the tactical lineups when the real show starts.
The boys in their kits space out onto the field.
One red shirt gives the tiniest of nudges with the side of his foot
to a comrade
and the game is on.
It’s there that the green field and the players on it
truly begin to soothe my mind.
The ball flows between players and teams,
flying through the air as the boys jump to join it
and change vectors.
Math, improvisation, and efforts dominate the play –
who is forcing the ball to the right angle to the perpendicular rectangles,
who is there to intercept and deflect,
can the goalie close the angle and stop the flight paths?
It’s the back and forth of the flow of people across the green field
that mesmerizes me.
It relaxes me, reminds me that I have to let life flow around me,
that I have to improvise as much as I plan, nutmeg as much as I play set pieces.
I want my soul to be that green field.