Evening Kick-Offs

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 My father never watched me play football
so at night I contrived to be both
myself on the pitch and him in the stand –
an early exponent of simulation.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 From up on The Holte the game unfolds
in flooded light; in the wings silhouetted
masses, punctuated by cigarette flashes.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 As I seize upon a loose ball, he’d notice
that possession accrued by chance and not endeavour.
I’m the creative playmaker behind the strikers:
tackling is for the lesser gifted
water-carriers and workers.

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 Stifling the echoes of yesterday’s quarrels
I play a quick one-two with an accomplice.
I’m equally accomplished with either foot,
the upshot of solitary childhood pursuits
that ruined the lawn in our back garden.
Through the defence I slalom
with feints and drops of the shoulder;
I’m nearing the penalty area
with only the last man to beat.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 Then the holes appear around my feet,
dark and deep as graves. I put on the brakes,
afraid what they contain, the ball rolls tamely
into the keeper’s arms.

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 He used to say I was lacking
in perseverance and focus;
but I replayed this fixture
every night for five years.


Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/evening-kick-offs/