July 2007 - THE POTOMAC|
Tommy's Earthbound Son Gets to Jump Center on Senior Night
Cheerleaders flaunting pleated skirts and the off key high
school jazz band mistreating “Sweet Georgia Brown” are much
more exciting than the game. I make for the lower parking lot,
dark and slightly threatening near the drainage ditch,
snaggle of ragged trees and undergrowth, but it’s very quiet,
bright stars embedded in the nine o'clock sky. I think
I’ll take a spin through my old stomping grounds, maybe click
into an unencrypted wireless connection with my laptop.
Don’t blame me if I Google a trendy poet’s web site, jealously
admire the quality of her links. I’m missing, and Tommy’s
certain to notice I’ve vanished. His boy is back on the bench.
The home team’s dribbled onto the court; they’re taking out the ball.
Second half already, and Tommy probably figured I’d hit the can.
By now I’m sure he thinks my suspect heart’s petered out, I’ve keeled
over face first into a urinal. But tonight the pouty cheerleaders
stay beautiful and more than a short hair slutty. When custodians reveal
enormous eight-foot dust mops, as Billy Banfield re-counts
concessions stand money, I’ll be prying wishing stars free
from their settings–MIA, AWOL, and Where the fuck?–
navigating carefully vast nostalgic blocks of Milky Way.
When I return, the half-full trophy case glitters the deserted lobby;
shower heads still drip in the men’s locker room; nobody’s
left sitting on the bench. With an Allen wrench, someone chocks
the crash bars; metal doors click and lock. Have you ever been
this alone in your Alma Mater, walking down the nearly familiar
hallways in darkness? The feeble glow of an exit sign casts
a blood-washed spotlight on buffed terrazzo. Have you ever acted
out a death scene like mine, soliloquized maybe on this lonely
stage? Have you ever babied and bankrolled a dramatic production
clear through its standing room only, sold out forever, just one night run?