Text Listening or 12%er

With fingers like cigar butts

Smart phone settings can be a problem.

Better to see a text

Than have everyone in the room listening.

That would be accidental collection

In American political fiasco parlance,

If you know what I’m saying.

So my friend, the goat herder,

Before I take leave of this day,

Hit the right friggen button

So we can text freely next time,

Lest I blame you

For bugging our communications

As I head to the first tee…

C’mon Coach

A coach’s email
Sent to the parents,
But meant for the players
Has me shaking my head
Over the lack of perspective
Rampant in youth sports.

We are teachers, coaches.
The lessons we teach
Are bigger than the game,
The scholarship opportunity,
Or the potential business to our
Local sports store.

We should be thinking beyond
Wins and losses and
Looking ahead at how pronouns
Shape the way kids see the world
And accept responsibility
For the way they act
Under the pressures of a game.

Stop with “They,”
Deny the ease of putting blame on others,
The hard play of competition
Does not need to be countered
With chippy attitudes and petty fouls
Or calls that,
“They played aggressively because of where they are from.”
No, that’s borderline… I take that back,
It’s insensitive at best, elitist on some level, and
Culturally insensitive for sure.

I’m not quite prepared to say racist yet.

The game is about “US,”
How we play as a team,
How we stay true to our values,
Even when the games heat up
Or the calls seem questionable.
Resorting to the same style of play
That we find so objectionable in our electronic communications
Is a white-washing of our culpability
In the farce that is getting bent
Over what happens
In recreation basketball games
On cloudy Saturday afternoons.

Emails that mask the failures of our children
Should not be the way of our teaching and coaching,
When we respond to pressure the wrong way,
We need to place blame where it belongs,
With our coaching, our playing,
Not the other team or the referees.

Coach your children well…

Rediscovery

Who we are
Is who we be
Until we get lost
And are unable to see.
Today, I sat at a table
With strangers all around
One, a poet, ready to read
Hiding behind heavy hair
And those bohemian looking sweaters
While his friends
Latched on to his sort of celebrity
In a cool kind of way,
At least the ladies were into the reading,
The dude seemed more interested
In the lumberjack competition on the tele.

A lady to my left asked me if I wrote poetry
And in my slow to warm voice I said, “Yes.”
She asked what I did for a living
And I wanted to say, “Eat, drink, and breathe,”
But I settled for, “Teach Health and PE,”
To which she offered, “Oh, god bless you,” and turned away.
I thought her response strange
Since I had not sneezed, but I let it go
In honor of the fine beer and tasty cheese before me and
Out of respect for the poet
Lamenting about lust for a Russian teacher.

I sat there thinking
Why should my poet cred be challenged by my vocation
After all, classroom teachers hate trying to teach gym
And every now and then, I have a pleasing poet’s groove.
A deep breath and a bite of Seven Sisters Smoked Provolone
Sent me beyond the crowded room,
A mental flossing removing the plaque and
Involving a time earlier in the day
When I took my son’s lead,
Allowing YouTube to stoke a fire
With my old friend Eric Clapton
Who I lost in the Springsteen storm of autumn.
I got home from the reading,
Warmed up some cheese pizza, and
Cranked up the Tube
While I burned up my lap top’s battery
Processing photos and thinking poetic thoughts.

Then it hit me,
Live is where it’s at.
The Boss blew me away
Under the hot summer night
With all the energy Bruce and the band bring.
YouTube was a synthetic version
Of being there.
Since my basement is so cold,
I could claim this was live and not Memorex,
The stiffness in my fingers akin to September’s sweat
Rolling down my crack.
My typing would stop
As I felt compelled to watch Eric sway like a cobra
When the musical spirits took his body over.
I danced as much as my cranky back
Would allow,
The cry of Mr. Clapton’s guitar
Bringing tears to my eyes
As Badge tore at my doubt.
Seriously, Key To the Highway,
Had me thinking of my son,
A guitar player in his own right, but also,
It made me realize how much I missed Clapton,
How much I missed being sure of myself,
How much I need to not care
That people can’t understand
How a PE teacher can write poetry
Even at the expense of watching
That basketball tournament that probably
Can’t be mentioned without permission
From the NCAA.

So thanks Google
For streaming some EC.
The day has been great,
A needed rediscovery.