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Paul Violi

A Poem for Martin

A row of hardhats and football helmets
hang from a rack above the bar mirror.
Each decaled with a college team logo
and mascot - if you were here I wonder
which you would assign to schools of poets.

And sure, critics have their muse
- and here she is, the boss, seventy
or so, black slacks, loopy gold earrings,
a helmet of silver-white hair, grim,
stern, terse but pouring generously.

Though the game's a rout, young but crumpled
ex-linemen don't take their eyes off the TV
while comparing old injuries:
“My back hurt so bad I just wanted
somebody to shoot me in the face.”

How should the referee call that one?
A penalty for excessive irony
or for brutally direct truthfulness?
A point for either?
How about two points for both?

Copyright © Paul Violi, 2004