Dancing With Noah

Just messing around, getting triple doubles

Category Archives: Poetry

2017 Pro Basketball MVP: Russell Westbrook

Art from Matt Hollister http://www.matthewhollister.com

Russell has a bad beard, barely a beard
So Harden Schmarden
Russell is broad-shouldered, jumps high, runs fast, shoots imaginary pistols, snarls, is the latest embodiment of a made-up mentality called mamba
Man-made of bones and flesh though sometimes it doesn’t seem so like when he’ll
Snatch a board and explode like the Flash or Usain Bolt with basketball
Passing Steven and Enes, and Victor and Billy, and Steve McQueen and Dutch McQueen
It’s impossible though to keep up the high forever
Acid wears off, paint runs dry, the sun grows cold and dim, and Russell, unlike Wilt,
Can’t play 48.5 minutes a game
Sit, rest, sweat, replenish with electric koolaid Gatorade
And witness and watch a wannabe empire crumble on a
Kevin Durant departure, like a
Prairie twister flinging Clay-B into snarling jaws of PNW throngs
Plus, minus, net, zero
 

Russell has knuckles that bulge, big hands I see during press conferences gripping thin-necked mics
Those same big hands the tools of a furious craftsman shaping a world of leather and wood and glass and steel and nylon
Big heart pumping, big heart probably three times the size of a normal human heart like he’s the human Secretariat
Chasing down Big O, Big Oscar, Big grouchy pants, while the pitched screams of the chorus clash in some unholy demonic din
Love, hate, sober, drunk, we can’t agree on anything
Even numbers lie these days
Over-contextualized
Down to the subdermal layers to the atoms of Russell’s being, scrutinizing
Every
Fucking
Rebound
 

Stack up all the stats like petty biscuits of achievement and gobble it up without milk
Choke on the numbers
Critical and confused in a day where we know everything and yet still believe in what we can’t see
Everything ends and every ending starts with some sprouting in spring or something
 

A car crash in Houston on a
Late night in April
Careening into Patrick
(“Your mom!”)
Beverley Schmeverley
Russell MVP rising so far so fast
Commercialized, commodified to sell product
In funny clothes, clownsuits
Prisoner of a musecage of his own design
(Oh, give it a rest, Kobe)
How though?
Head to head, I mean rim to rim nuclear-propelled missile bullet rocket projectile thundering sonic boom
Bukkake acid rain all over the NBA
 

But fizzle fizzle fizzle
No cupcake, no sadness, no victory
Those big hands crinkling, those knuckles crunching
Pupils big like frisbees
A multi-hued splatter on hardwood canvas
Bill Walton Jackson Pollock basketball
Drunk on a tappable fury reserve,
Futuristic basketball player in Joanie Mitchell hats
Validated in losing, but still
Validated, but still
Losing, but still
Validated …

The Turnover King

The turnover king, the turnover king,
Let’s not say long live the turnover king
He’s fallen in a heap of basketballs made of butter that don’t bounce but splat with buttery densities
His pockets picked clean like the dreams of a drunk passed out on the BART with destination of summer
The turnover king, you turnover king
Thirteen times you gave it away
Those 27 points that were nothing but average all year long
were unattainable,
A single point over half of average which is 14 total which is underwhelming when cities and states depend on you
Average was out of reach like the extra virgin olive oil-covered leather ball that betrayed you on a Wednesday night in May
Those seven assists you casually deliver with just a hair more than the effort I put into catching my morning bus or walking my morning dog
Were as fleeting as an acceptable assist-to-turnover ratio:
Yours was 1 to 2.1666666666667 tonight
(or something, could be there are too many or too few sixes)
But it doesn’t matter
The great turnover king, the turnover king
Exists in multispheres like this:
In my eye as a fan of trivial NBA history
In his eye as a human being trying to achieve something – such as a completed pass to a teammate
In the eyes of his opponents as a brown skinned equation that is a basketball version of the unsolvable, yet only if said equation collapsed on itself leaving mathematician
basketball opponents like, “Oh shit, the math did itself”
Historically bad is still historical you gnarled sweating
Turnover king
I swear to god if this was 1215 instead of 2015, probably the bards and songwriters would write about the turnover king with the amount of sadness on par with the amount of joy they write about the
Three point king or reverence with which they write about the regular king
Unnaturally bearded children would bury their heads in the bosoms of consoling mothers
While sober former players would chalk it up a bad game, shaking their heads shrugging massive suit-covered shoulders and reminisce on their own pimple covered failures in uglier-than-reality embellished memories
And in the sphere of emotional existence, do we not recall our scars as much if not more than our jubilations?
Oh you fucking immortal turnover king with all those errant passes and over dribbles
Are you mad man?
We know you’re not, you filthy turnover king
You just had a bad day like that time I stepped in dog shit with no shoes on before high school and nasty stuff in my toe nails and cuticles
Or that time I forgot my laptop even though my entire existence as a professional hinges to varying degrees around my laptop
Turnover king, I’ve never coughed up 13 turnovers, but I feel you
Or not, you know?
Dear turnover king, like that section in the US Weekly magazines my wife reads, I know you’re a star but you’re just like us – you have bad days
I know this because you had the worst fucking day possible short of a game-flushing timeout called when you didn’t have any timeouts like Chris Webber way back in the day
And I (and the people I know) have had shitty days
Oh sloppy turnover king, were you unfocused, distracted? Did you forget yourself?
I doubt it.
My friend thought you looked like Sidney Dean throwing that game in Watts with Billy Hoyle and who am I to argue even if I don’t agree
I don’t believe you threw the game but if you’d been wearing that Colnago cap with the bill flipped, then maybe
Suffice to say, not even turnover kings are immune to storylines and narrative
Someday turnover king, someday when you’re vanquishing the physical foes of the present, they’ll bring this up in the same way
Gatorade and Adidas and their chummy ad agencies with their truckloads of demographic audience data build storylines around bouncing back and overcoming failure
There’s no good that will come out of this, you gone fishing turnover king, but in our endless quest to attach meaning to every inconceivable
Mishap that befalls us, someone, perhaps you yourself, will invent the silver lining to create achievement out of failure
Like a technicolor flower sprouting out of the ugliness of a desolate wasteland
Whatever turnover king, just let’s take better care of that which we covet next time

Proxy Wars of Kobe Bryant

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Atlas in Detroit

I wish everyone would just shut the fuck up

Andre Drummond is here

So maybe people should pay a little respect

He’s like a pretty black version of Sloth from Goonies, but with symmetrical facial features,

A keen mind, and an NBA contract,

Unchained from Lawrence Frank’s basement of 20-minute games

To a freedom where he doesn’t wreak havoc

He wreaks hell on victims in bulging musclebound ferocity,

His calm demeanor contradicting a storm of terror delivered with the

Fury of a hundred angry, scowling Kenyon Martins crossbred with salty Donald Sterlings

The Pistons are dead?

How can that be when Drummond’s dunks are sporty homicides that

Sacrifice feeble-bodied opponents to the blood-lusting spectators at the Palace

His snarling rebounds snared with the wings of a Velociraptor,

Swoll from injecting organic biofuels and carrying the weight of ghosts of Pistons past

Andre Drummond is 20-years-old, carved from the mind of Greek poets and

Given life by the nefarious bioengineers who created Drago in Rocky IV

He’s the art and the science, the inspired and the diabolic

Fuck what you heard

Dwight Howard’s a clown who hasn’t learned the world’s laughing at him

Blake Griffin’s a knockoff Shawn Kemp and fugazi to boot

Andrew Bynum’s the black Bill Walton of the modern day

Brook Lopez has the agility of Jabba the Hut

Anthony Davis is a delicate spindle dancing on the levees of injurious doom

If Drummond plays Beast, LaMarcus Aldridge is tea and crumpets

DeMarcus Cousins is Mitch “Blood” Green to Drummond’s Mike Tyson

Al Horford, Chris Bosh, Roy Hibbert are Shakespeare in the Park. Drummond is GWAR.

Tim Duncan is on life support and Shaq is dead

Today the world belongs to Andre Drummond.

It spins on his axes, tilts toward his sun, operates in his orbit.

The 9th Wonder of the World is Andre Drummond …. Act accordingly

Caution, Contents may be Fragile

What oh what, have the playoffs become?

No Rose, no Rondo and now no Russ

Kobe’s Achilles, we lost Dr. Buss

 

D. Lee’s hip and the eggshell pacing Spurs

Tyson Chandler’s neck and Noah’s fascist fascia

Pain, disappointment and injurious-expecting paranoia

 

We’re lost and wandering in D. Wade’s aching knees,

And the strange Baker’s Cyst of MWP’s

Supporting characters’ ankles so brittle and Meek(s)

 

Under x-ray machines Steph Curry’s ankle still weak

The Linsane have crumbled under bird-chested contusions

While the unhealthy continue to foster successful allusions

 

Steve and Steve are baked in sunny LA, we put out a missing person’s report on Stoudemire, Amare

The most shocking of all is the tearing meniscus of a bionic man

Russell Westbrook has fallen; it’s more than we can stand

 

Reminds me of the woe I felt back in nineteen-and-ninety

When I watched another unbeatable, unbreakable, mythological man

Get pummeled to a pulp, his wobbly legs not allowing him to stand

 

Mike Tyson, meet Russell, Russ, this is Mike

So different, so same, made of futuristic metals and the like

Yet falling so sadly, the mortal myths settle

 

The excitement is waning, the birds are chirping

Turn off the TV because the hope has splintered

Let’s go outside because spring is here and it’s been a long winter

OR

23 in a Row! (inspired by Shel Silverstein)

23 in a row! Crown the kings! Plan the parade! The season is over!

“It’s only March,” cried the masses, “you front-running posers!”

 

We looked to Riley, pomading his hair. He consulted a calendar, made a few calls.

The season wasn’t done, “Let’s practice, get out the balls!”

 

“Not those balls, Bird!” and the team had a laugh

They played catch for a bit, then sat at the chalkboard and worked on the math

 

“23 wins in 23 games, 100% success, now isn’t that great?”

Asked Juwan and Mike Miller as they calculated the rate

 

“23 is the number that I used to wear,”

Said a goofing LeBron, but nobody cared

 

Spoelstra diagrammed and analyzed equations

While Chalmers and Cole were mesmerized by chalk dust, “amazin’”

 

Meanwhile in China, McGrady poo-poo’d and moaned

Over in Boston, Jet Terry clutched his aching back and groaned

 

Video replay showed the Death Machine flying without wings

Riley used a Chinese calculator to tabulate his rings

 

In the locker room where they filmed the famous Shake

The team gathered around the schedule looking for a mistake

 

Nope, the games were all there, everything was all clear

The Cavs were on Wednesday, there was nothing to fear

 

“Going home, going home where they love and hate me so much”

Sang a balding LeBron while Bosh made up his lunch

 

Then it’s the Pistons, Bobcats and Orlando

“For that last one, I just might go Commando”

 

Said a chucking Birdman while he sketched a new tattoo

And Battier hummed that he was feeling blue

 

About what he wouldn’t say

After all it was Pierce’s copious behind that ended the game the previous day

 

Wilt the Stilt rolled over in his grave

Passing along ill-intentioned curses that the Heat would misbehave

 

Jerry West laughed and said they had a nice run

But he hoped that the boys from Miami could continue their fun

 

If you love them, it was a blast, but if not you hated

And only a Heat loss would leave you satiated

 

Screw off LeBron and you too Dwyane Wade

Superstars or not, you’re both overpaid

 

Why so much anger and blood curdling envy?

They’re just playing and winning and Shane seems so sophisticated and friendly

 

“But what happens if we get to 24, 5 or 6?”

Asked little Chalmers, his face in a twist

 

Everyone hushed and looked on at old Riley who lit up a fat stogie

Stared back at the team and puffed out so slowly

 

“It’s not a title, but it’s more and it’s less

Little Mario Chalmers, consider yourself blessed”

 

23 couplets for 23 wins

It sure is something and no one can say if we’ll see it again

Relief in the City of Roses

Deep in the bowels of the Rose Garden

Lays a mausoleum, a skeleton-less, mummy-free catacomb

Where memories and dreams are Laid to rest Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, Brandon Roy, Greg Oden

Their starched jerseys stretched across the walls in black, red and white, permanent defiance

Paul Allen and the sons and daughters of Portland weep when they remember

Clyde and Rick Adelman and Jack Ramsey are helpless to ease their pain

But what if hope landed in PDX in a

Lithe, lean, young point guard from Oakland

What if he was stolen out from under the inquisitive eyes of the analysts, the

Noses of the scouts who know

Talent when they see it

A sequence of events as fruitfully unexpected as prior tragedies had been unfairly unfortunate

Damian Lillard, not the flashy teenage prodigy or the

Entitled one and done junior maestro whose destiny is interwoven within NBA

No.

Damian, Dame, with his boyishly angelic face barely sprouting whiskers

Psalm 37 inked down his left arm in an expression of his faith

Reflected in his discipline and patience to

Wait it out in Ogden (to work it out in Ogden) while his peers bounded towards riches (?), professionalism, fame and the

Trappings that have become cliché

Dame waited

And waited in Ogden at the feet of hills and mountains, a cultural antithesis from the haunts of Oakland

While Portland languished through the inconceivability that Brandon Roy’s knees were without

Cartilage, just bone grinding on bone until the inevitability that Brandon’s knees couldn’t

Ever hold up

But that’s past now

Wearing number zero, zed, O—for Ogden, O-for Oakland,

O for the emptiness Portland can leave behind

Lillard is here with his mature pick-and-roll game, a generously balanced blending of inside-outside-all-inclusive

involvement that breathes anticipation and excitement into Portland’s sons and daughters

And for today and tomorrow allows Paul Allen the

Respite to forget and lock up the gates that provide entry to the

Dark, dank cemetery of dreams that sits in quiet and peace deeply forgotten beneath the Rose Garden

Ode to LeBron Raymone James

A post-Jordanian titanium mass of a man,

Rings be damned

If he never wins again

What we have is enough

Memories (feats, destructions) to last us a

Million basketball-less summers

Memories aren’t just for the lonely,

But for the longing too

And the longing don’t have to be lonely

The longing and/or lonely don’t

Need rings or royalty

 

Just a man moving through a

Slow-motion world of

Blank-faced helpless defenders,

A screaming freight train barreling towards punctuality

Narrative be damned

His ability exceeds our qualifications and

Accolades,

Definitions and Parameters,

His existence on-court is

Independent of contemporaries and

Forebears

I’ll take a ghetto blaster and destroy the

Trophy cases with heavy bass

I can’t wait to invent a ray gun just to melt the

Infinite statues symbolizing his greatness

I’m resurrecting René Descartes to help imagine a devilish saw and equations that

Undercut the stats and tables we use to articulate greatness

  

What is victory

Without the struggle?

What is war

Without the sacrifice?

What is success

Without the failure?

The anticipation of a hundred thousand years is

Finally over

We made it

We’re here

And free to believe in whatever we please

 

Rondo Interrupted

I’m not a Boston fan

I don’t love the city or their teams

I don’t drape my shoulders in anything remotely Celtic Green

But my heart can ache

For the injured Alien whose

Ligament(s) tore, ripped, shredded

Like sheets of paper

Covered in inky dreams

The point guard from another planet, another world or underworld

With extra-terrestrially long fingers

An infinite scowl that’s

Like looking into the bottom of an inkwell

Shifty shifting eyes straight from a Gorillaz animation,

Demeanor borrowed from Mad Max’s post-apocalyptic Thunderdome,

Always alert, always suspicious,

Trusting no one, no thing, not even the man-made ligaments he was given

A black hole mood that rises with the moon

…yes, Rajon Rondo has fallen

Kids choke back kelly green tears

Garnett & Pierce in their wizened years

Understanding now more than ever

The importance of young Rondo

But the shredded ligament (that we didn’t know he had), the last

Single elastic straw that held up

The hope of a million Celtics fans

Collapsed under the expectations

And amid the rubble, Celtics fans attempt to

Soldier on

While Danny Ainge painfully retrieves a stuffed,

Frayed, and Faded manila folder

Stenciled with red letters spelling out:

DECONSTRUCTION

Danny and Doc deeply contemplate deconstruction

While Rondo sits in a chair in the corner

Quietly sipping seltzer water

Thinking of the Moon

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