Saturday, August 23, 2014

James Joyce comes to Columbia City

In which we overthink an ordinary football game

C'mon, you know I'm kidding. He's only in my head. And not Portrait or Ulysses, just a over-worn narration of a high school football game, sitting here wondering if it can be wrested into this space with any grace, an evening served up like a clumsy altar boy, or tackled like a lumbering linebacker. Here we are gathered once again for  the introit anthem, the school kyrie, the penitential 10-yard penalty. A choir of heavenly cheerleaders. Bleachers full of Friday service worshippers. THE VOICE OF GOD from the speakers. The delivery, pregame, of an injured player now back from (almost) dead, a hospital helicopter depositing him mid-field to the cheers of the congregation. The performance at half-time of a choir of pink-shirted little cheer-girls; so the children shall lead them, indeed. We share popcorn and sodas, and find ourselves sitting and standing a dozen times as we let people in and out of our row. Funny, it’s hot and sultry tonight, this first football game of the year, after a cool and calm summer; later, long after the lights have been turned off and everyone unvested, it will storm. But that’s hours away, and right now I’m thinking about the words I might write about this night, and just why I want to. Christ, have mercy.

Geez, what did you think you were going to get?

In little towns like mine that's all they got / Newspaper clippings fill the coffeeshops / The old men will always think they know it all / Young girls will dream about the boys of fall

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