Zumwalt Poems Online

The ball is in our courts

The ball is in our courts

The shirts press the skins
looking for the turnover.

The skins set screens to break the press
and force overtime.

The two teams play
without arena staff,
relying on unknown referees,
the crowd locked out of the building.

It is a territorial sport
that knows no season
and cares little about the ticking of the clock.

It is a rich person’s sport
like shooting barasingha
or showering with Krug champagne.

Would my boss keep me from working
if I refuse a multi-million dollar contract
and fifty-fifty revenue sharing?

Would I be laughed at
if I asked for vacation from May
through September
with October for retraining?

It’s not so much that I worry
about the players or the owners
it’s more about the lost life-risking excavating opportunities
for the mal-nourished children of Sierra Leone and Angola
as demand for diamonds by the NBA elite precipitously declines.

It’s not so much that I worry
about lost revenue for TNT and ESPN —
it’s whether this ultimately means
that Superbowl pregame coverage starts around St. Patrick’s Day.

Nonetheless, I am patient:
I can do without annoying puppet commercials
and twenty-seven-attempts slam dunk contests,

but I have one question
is it much of a game
when it’s not the players,
not the owners
that lose their shirts
but only the arena employees and nearby small business blue-collar workers?

— Zumwalt 2011


Comments on: "The ball is in our courts" (10)

  1. The poem is so easy on the ear and on the eye.But I have to think deeply about it ( which I like to do) Is it about the prostitution of the players and the obscene amounts of money that change hands between the owners of the teams and the stadia owners as opposed to the mean wages of the people who work in the stadia, race tracks ( horse , dogs, cars or bikes?) or is it deeper the difference between what a top professional player’s wage and the deep and horrifying want, need and hunger in the world? I apologize for the long rambling reply here .I hope it makes sense ..you have got me thinking …………… and that is good isn’t it? xx


  2. very powerful questions nicely put, thanks!


  3. oh i’d love to have a vacation from may to september..and showering with Krug champagne doesn’t sound bad at all…smiles..and food for thoughts here as well..esp. in the last stanza..


  4. Becky Sain said:

    Well played… So to speak. 🙂


  5. I love this one. I wonder if all involved looked at it from this point of view would they still be willing to go down the same road.


  6. Dear Sir you amaze me with your awesome imagery and word manipulation.. greatly written.. 🙂


  7. A powerful message here! The amount of money passing hands is obscene while the children starve and world crumbles. You’ve done a great job here … a very thought provoking piece 🙂


  8. All,

    Thanks for the comments! Appreciated!


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