Ride Them Like Jockeys.
I’m at the airport, waiting, footy showing in the departure lounge.
Stevie Johnson gathers the ball in a pack,
taking them on.
He is spun 360degrees, without spotting a target,
or maybe momentum is taking his fist from the ball.
Finding his footing, he runs three steps forward.
The bloke still has him, though. Not a lot,
On steps five and six, after his full whirl,
Stevie goes to handball,
but the tackle is sticking, he swipes at air,
the pill falling from his open hand.
“Play on,” the umpire calls.
We all moan to ourselves.
Collingwood supporters, Geelong supporters,
Freo supporters, people who don’t give a damn.
I watch the old man next to me.
exasperated breath leaves his mouth,
a sad, defeated thing,
- “Wasn’t that holding the ball?” a kid asks no-one,
and no-one replies.
They’ve taken away the knuckle, which is good,
the bump, which hurts,
but no matter how shitty our lives
we call “Ballllllll…!”, then “Yeahhhhhh!!”
and are victorious,
And are unique in the world.
Who are these people
fucking with our DNA?
Our lives are governed by rules,
not the aesthetics of where a footy falls.
The boarding call goes out. Some passengers leap at it,
others linger as long as they can.
I watch some of them ride the players like jockeys, others the rescued,
as the footballers go about their jobs, trying make order
of the chaos of it all.