A campaign for the custody of my soul
Is waged with greed by the prattling ranks of daylighters who
And with pleasure by the relaxing athletes of midnight who
I daily toss the coin at midcourt on my own behalf,
And covering the results with a palm,
Shout out “heads!” or “tails!” to suit desire or for laughs.
This crusade is sometimes ugly
In the irritable sun of headlines, arrests and padlocked doors
Where spectators include false friends crammed with the fat of envy.
They are eating popcorn in their beds,
While watching my events on wide screen,
Taking notes, they telephone each other, seeing red.
But I am riveted to those other men,
Sturdy as metal bridges over big black water,
I cross them in danger, in darkness,
Learning how they are constructed, and following their curves
I wonder if their span is doomed, will fail me, kill me.
I sleep it off at dawn, this fearing of the worst.
When I am old, this match will rage without me.
Then, I may seek peace with those whose Christmas cards stopped coming.
Confined to my chair, who cares? I’ll take their penance easily.
As usual, I want it all.
The sin of now, the cheers, the loss of blood,
The come-backs from the falls.
And if I walked out on my game before the clock is run,
Jumping bed to bed to outpace all my creditors,
Won’t God himself say what I’d have become?
A dated trophy perched near the coaches’ rants,
I spoil the team I wish to see retreat,
and grant the field to those I wish advanced.
I am too close to the action of my contest,
I topple, shatter and the soldiers run me over
Forgetting why they wanted me, they take no rest.