Sporting Life

Billie Holiday and Coleman Hawkins 1957 by Don Hunstein

Immerse the dream, Drench the Kiss,
Dip the song into the stream

-Edna St Vincent Millay

Sporting Life

by Jack Spicer

The trouble with comparing a poet with a radio is that radios don’t develop scar-tissue. The tubes burn out, or with a transistor, which most souls are, the battery or diagram burns out replaceable or not replaceable, but not like that punchdrunk fighter in the bar. The poet
Takes too many messages. The right to the ear that floored him in New Jersey. The right to say that he stood six rounds with a champion.
Then they sell beer or go on sporting commissions, or, if the scar tissue is too heavy, demonstrate in a bar where the invisible champions might not have hit him. Too many of them.
The poet is a radio. The poet is a liar. The poet is a counterpunching radio.
And those messages (God would not damn them) do not even know they are champions.

[copyright Jack Spicer, Wesleyan University Press, 2008]

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