Poem 18

Here is one about tennis and toilets and most-likely distorted memories.


I remember it like this

 

I am standing in the stall of

    the men’s washroom of

        your favourite tennis club–

            the tennis club you bring us to all of the time

                Every sweltering summer day

                    we wait and we watch or we don’t watch–it doesn’t matter to you

 

Water is rising and I don’t know what to do

    I can break this but I cannot fix it

        I can start this but I cannot stop it

            Terror is rising in me as water fills to the lip, 

                parts the seat from the bowl and 

                    spews forth a fountain onto the tile

 

I am looking down at the toilet water

    I go deaf as the pool grows slowly

        like black blood beneath a just-shot loved one

            the movie-moment when you see the ooze from underneath

                the torso, and the torso stops rising or falling

                    I am pinned down by the gravity of silence

 

I hear the spraying now

    the water is a sprinkler in my stall

        I am standing very still because I do not know 

            what to do in a moment like that–when action and inaction lead to doom

                I don’t want to move the body

                    I want to do what I can to help

 

You burst in and catch my eye

    You are angry and you tell me you are angry–I remember your yelling

        Your eyes look sad–defeated

            like all of your dreams are made of paper

                and in this savage spray they are losing their will

                    being washed away with sewage

 

I must have filled the bowl with toilet paper

    Maybe it isn’t my fault–wrong place at the wrong time

        I don’t remember this part. I don’t remember being guilty–

            only feeling guilty

                There is a look in your eyes that flushes me

                     I am sopping wet

 

My shoes are wet and so are yours–your K-Swiss tennis shoes

    My sister is here–a witness

        You take me by the arm and lead me away from the scene

            into the car, seats covered by towels

                good for soaking sweat or sewage

                    You tell me you are not allowed to return to the club and I know it is my fault

 

I feel small in that car–deflated

    all of the bounce has gone out of me

        I am watching the clubhouse shrink behind us

            Maybe a man is shaking his fist at us–but probably not

                Watching out the windows on our silent slither home

                    I am disappearing                

 

        In tennis, when the score is tied–

    when no one has the upper hand–

they call it love


    

Dave Von Bieker

Dave Von Bieker, 11243 85 St NW, Edmonton, AB, T5B 3C6, Canada

Dave Von Bieker lives at the intersection of art, faith, hope and love. He has 2 great kids, a fantastic wife, and a mostly good dog. He plays red guitars and drives red cars.