POETRY READING: A Scene of Brutal Glory, by Howard W. Robertson

Performed by Allison Kampf

POEM:

After football practice, Dave Malloy, assistant
coach, was sitting in the office of the coach, Jim
Shelby / I was there as well; I don’t remember why
/ without the slightest warning, zany Dave erupted,
bellowed, slammed the tabletop with both his hefty
hands, ejaculating loudly these impassioned words,
“I want to fuck!” / Malloy repeated this, and Shelby
shushed him, since a teenage boy was present, me /
soon after that, Malloy became the coach at New
Geneva High, our bitter rival, we of Fairfield High /
the summer just before my senior season, 1964, I
had an easy job delivering bouquets, arrangements,
wreaths, and other floral merchandise from Baxter’s
Blossoms, located in Fairfield but providing flowers
for all greater New Geneva / my delivery van pulled
up at New Geneva High one afternoon, and I began
unloading many floral products / suddenly Malloy
was there, just grinning at me crazily, eyes merrily
agleam / we talked a bit of this and that, not even
mentioning we’d meet next autumn on opposing
sides of gridiron combat / early in the New Geneva
game that fall, we punted on fourth down / I was the
long-snapper and could release downfield before the
other guys who had to block first / when the punt
returner caught the kick, I was already nearing him
at top speed / suddenly I caught some stream of
energy (let’s call it Ki) and flowed right through the
running back, depositing his body in a broken heap
at Coach Malloy’s large feet while I just trotted off
unscathed and nonchalant / my soft eyes sensed his
crazy stare and joyous grin directed at me all the
way across the field to what was now the line of
scrimmage / next day in the local paper he was
quoted, “Well, I knew when Douglas tore apart my
halfback early on that we were in for one hell of a
game!” / that was the scene of brutal glory, that
god-given moment, gleaming possibly forever /
Pindar said, “What’s man? A shadow’s dream.
God-given gleaming comes, and life is bright.”

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