The Dead Man at Soldier Field
Excepting the long snapper’s gaffe,
the holder’s observable wrong-way laces,
& the leaping defensive tackle’s fantastic aerial fingertip block,
it's on him. He'll be jobless, or worse,
the Internet creams. Fans who’d tip cars
or joust windows with uprooted stop
signs (if he had only succeeded launching
that pigskin through a mounted cross for three!)
would raise him to apotheosis, the masses
who would go hoarse praising his name, damn
to sever the man from uniform & number,
to let his absence be the succour, traded
after the campaign’s bloody debacle, the kick
that made you wish you never cared who won.
Across the River
On La Grand Roue de Montréal, I remember
20 years ago, when we first stayed in Old Port,
how the irate Quebecois bombed the Second Cup
for using signs in English. No one would speak to us,
but we drank kir royales with Alex near McGill, ate pastrami
sandwiches at Schwartz’s & enjoyed the difference
of the exchange rate. Without children, we drank wine
at Le Paris, lounged in our hotel, & rented skates here.
Today, our car stops at the acme of the arc.
Someone didn’t want to see the Aztec exhibit at the Museum
of Anthropology. Someone else did, but
there’s no frustration now. We changed.
At this moment, it means Stella, looking down to find
her sister & mother by the maroon of their parkas, skating
the strip of the St. Lawrence, by the closed zipline
to the edge of the bridge, while the Olympic rink
is emptied for the zamboni to slowly glaze the ice.
Above Old Port together, I point to Jesus, & she to City Hall,
recalling where we’ve eaten & where we’ve parked.
Perhaps because I’m quiet, she decides to start talking
about a boy, says she knows what they are like.
Your father was once a boy, imagine the distance
he had to cross, I tell myself. The old life like the river
of ice that seems eternal seen left to right,
though cut across, it’s quick
passage, even briefer as it’s told.
Max Heinegg’s poems have been nominated for Best of the Net, and The Pushcart Prize. He’s been a finalist for the poetry prizes of Crab Creek Review, December Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Cutthroat, Rougarou, Asheville Poetry Review, the Nazim Hikmet prize, and the Joe Bolton award from Twyckenham Notes.
Additionally, he is a singer-songwriter and recording artist whose records can be heard at www.maxheinegg.com