Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hoop Schemes

During the first week of the NCAA basketball tournament I have discovered new ways to read and write over the top of Charles Barkley.  I've re-read Freddie Buechner's memoir, Now and Then, and started an essay entitled, "The Pastor as Theologian".  I'm also reading Raymond Carver's posthumous collection of poetry, All of Us, while writing new verse of my own.  And I've also submitted no less than a dozen other works to various editors during the basketball games, leaving me with a surprising amount of energy for these late-night basketball/writing fiascoes.

I just hope that all of the basketball commentary in the background doesn't impact my writing. I'd hate to be writing a love poem, for example, and have it come out sounding like this:

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways:
I love thee as much as a point guard dribbles and makes plays,
As deeply as Marv Albert makes no sense,
As much as Charles Barkley sits the fence. 

I love thee through all of life's heights and falls,
Through the ruined brackets, all the bad calls,
In spite of Clark Kellogg squeezing his orange . . .
And everyone knows nothing rhymes with orange (it's a fact).

I love thee in the quiet hours, the distant hum,
And in spite of that kid at Harvard who beats the drum,
I love thee in the hope of hearing Dickie V
Predicting that Duke will prevail by three.

I love thee here at home while we eat our franks and beans
Through all of your complaints about the Crimsons and Creans,
Through Cinderellas and bracket-busters,
The top-seeds, the over-achievers, the lack-lusters.

And if I were to die a horrendous death (eaten by wolves, perhaps)
My heart would still beat for you, my love wouldn't lapse
One wit in spite of no one coming to my funeral or
Writing you a sympathy card during the Final Four.

I'd wait there in purgatory, or Limbo, or whatever my fate
While you sit at home and work your brackets, and contemplate
How much money you're making in the company camp.
Just hope you regard me as your National Champ.


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