2 May 2007

Ballet and Murder

Not much up today: walked the Hammer who whiffed what she likes to whiff in the Labour Day breeze. After she rolled in what she whiffed, I had to give her a long bath to get most of the smell of a homeless man's brown/yellow shit off her long fur. After the dog was cleaned up I watched a little of the Rangers/Sabres game - that was some good violent hockey. Hopefully the Canucks/Ducks game will be even more so.

Have you read Al Purdy's Hockey Players before?

What they wory about most is injuries

broken arms and legs and

fractured skulls opening so doctors

can see such bloody beautiful things

almost not quite happening in the bone rooms

as they happen outside -

And the referee?

He's right there on the ice

not out of sight among the roaring blue gods

of a game played for passionate businessmen

and a nation of television agnostics

who never agree with the referee and applaud

when he falls flat on his face -

On a breakaway

the centre man carrying the puck

his wings trailing a little

on both sides why

I've seen the aching glory of a resurrection

in their eyes

if they score

but crucifixion's agony to lose

- the game?

We sit up there in the blues

bored and sleepy and suddenly three men

break down the ice in roaring feverish speed and

we stand up in our seats with such a rapid pouring

of delight exploding out of self to join them why

theirs and our orgasm is the rocket stipend

for skating through the smoky end boards out

of sight and climbing up the appalachian highlands

and racing breast to breast across laurentian barrens

over hudson's diamond bay and down the treeless

tundra where

auroras are tubercular and awesome and

stopping isn't feasible or possible or lawful

but we have to and we have to

laugh because we must and

stop to look at self and one another but

our opponent's never geography

or distance why

it's men

- just men?

And how do the players feel about it

this combination of ballet and murder?

For years a Canadian specific

to salve the anguish of inferiority

by being good at something the Americans aren't -

And what's the essence of a game like this

which takes a ten year fragment of a man's life

replaced with love that lodges in his brain

and takes the place of reason?

Besides the fear of injuries

is it the difficulty of ever really overtaking

a hard rubber disc?

Is it the impatient coach who insists on winning?

Sportswriters friendly but sometimes treacherous?

- And the worrying wives wanting you to quit and

your aching body stretched on the rubbing table

thinking of money in owner's pocket that might be in yours

the butt-slapping cameraderie and the self indulgence

of allowing yourself to be a hero and knowing

everything ends in a pot-belly -

Out on the ice all these things be forgotten

in swift and skilled delight of speed?

- roaring out the endboards out the city

streets and high up where laconic winds

whisper litanies for a fevered hockey player -

Or racing breast to breast and never stopping

over rooftops of the world and all together

sing the song of money all together ...

(and out in the suburbs

there's the six year old kid

whose reflexes were all wrong

who always fell down and hurt himself and cried

and never learned to skate

with his friends) -


A. B. Chairiet said...

Reading the words in red made for great poetry...

I hope you're well. :)
~ Ash

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

The words in red (and green) were indented in Purdy's original poem. Blog formatting makes it difficult to type a poem as it was originally meant to be seen on the page sometimes.

I have a couple books of Purdy's poetry. One is even signed. I must find more. His novel, "A Splinter in the Heart", is the most poetic novel I have ever read.