1 Piece by Alan Michael Parker




Between Poems the Vandals Go

Behind the iron bleachers,
Playing football in the snow.

Blue jeans black as bruises, stiff with ice,
The vandals clap their hands,

Shuffle frozen toes in beat up hightops
And two pairs of woolly socks.

They pretend to be
Greek heroes, charging into violence

Like tired lovers, relentless as a poem.
They pretend they're you and me.

On the other side of the bleachers,
The real game continues: the marching band

Cuts up the artificial turf, the tuba and the drums
Warm the hearts of boys and girls.

Cheers festoon the air -
Then helmets crack, a whistle blows,

The vandals shake their heads,
Pack up their liniments and cardigans,

And trudge on off, beyond
The parking lot

Where the little yellow buses
Idle odorously in lines.

Dumb words, the vandals mutter,
Squeezing through and squeezing by.


Alan Michael Parker's first volume of poems, Days Like Prose
(Alef Books, 1997) was named a "Notable Book from 1997" by
the National Book Critics Circle. He is also Co-editor of The
Routledge Anthology Of Cross-Gendered Verse
(Routledge Books,
1996), and Editor for North America of a forthcoming Who's Who
In Twentieth Century World Poetry
(Routledge Books, 2000). His
poem in this issue is from from his book-length series,
The Vandals, which BOA Editions has just published. He is an
assistant professor of English at Davidson College in North Carolina.





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