Hockey poem week - Poem 6

on 3:40 pm

Truly as it always was, your neighbour was your goalie or our goal scorer, but nobody was ever a defensemen. No glamour in defending. It was always about scoring picturesque goals and making game-winning saves. It was about making memories and in some cases, re-enacting them.

The Goalie Who Lives Across the Street - Gordon Downie

Jean Beliveau's welcome any time
at the outdoor rink
in the park
just across from my house
for morning hockey under blue skies
this winter.
Birds wheeling overhead
Russian temperatures
lousy to no gear.
I'm the Goalie Who Lives Across the Street.

Kids play with smokes hanging out
of their mouths;
beautiful puck hogs
with incredible tricks.
They are so easily fatigued,
they take a break after every rush.
Old-timers heckle:
"Hey, Jim Carroll. Pass the puck."
They don't get it.

No literary pretensions allowed.
Two minutes for
"I saw his blood,
a billowing crimson cloud
against the milk white ice."
That's an infraction here.

When the predatory follow the puck
down to the other end
my net swarms like the Great Barrier Reef
with the smaller fish.
My crease fills with good questions
and wobbly wrist shots
(there are no bad questions, only bad wrist shots).

And then there are
the parents
always yelling
always telling them
where to aim.

At the rink across the street
Gerry Cheevers is welcome any time.


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