The stench of beer and breath and grease and pigskin
Intoxicates many on this passionate day of sporting,
Like a pollenous whirlwind set loose upon the human spirit.
At least for Americans, it will germinate into pure, strange nationality.
Fathering a sense of belonging,
Or a sense of carnal immersion
Barreling down into a world ruled by bitter men
Wielding clipboards and headsets—
Made all powerful by the super-human armies at their disposal.
In Houston, the coup was staged:
The panther camp versus the patriot camp.
An alliterative epic,
Where a goal is a goal,
And time is life.
The blurred lines of entertainment and reality
Transport us hypnogogically
Beyond our known limits of hedonistic exposure.
Here, envy, greed, wrath, and gluttony
Meet our lust and pride.
While sloth sinks us into our chair
To watch the real demons battle
Over things we claim as our own.
And the only thing more insipid than the world herein defined
Is the bottomless abyss found by stilted romanticizing.
Context: I wrote this poem just prior to the 2004 Super Bowl pitting the Carolina Panthers against the New England Patriots—two teams who might meet each other again this year post-playoffs. I enjoy watching football. But like many other fans, I have had my enjoyment complicated by the reports of traumatic brain injuries among current and former players. This also complicates my consideration of the sins inherent in enjoying football. This year and every year, I will watch and I will hope the best team wins and that no one gets hurt.