Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Of the Helmet, I Remember the Webbed, Inner Liner, a Brittle Plastic Underwear on Which Wobbled the Crushing Steel Pot Then Strapped at the Chin

The first place I go at morning's first surf isn't you, I'm sorry, it's Uni*Watch. I hate the fucking Red Sox, but when they went back to the road grays with black Boston after the garish red, that's how to feed generations, the self-entitled fucks. There's nothing I'd rather talk about than uniforms: that's why all I talk about are uniforms.

I'm old, I think selling the same shirt for half a century is good marketing. Apostasies ripple out from the younger to the older. I think the new uniforms suck, and I have no vested interest in Maryland except having rooted for them for forty years (it will be ten years ago this April that Maryland won the NCAA Basketball Championship, and I remember being pleased), and YAY! for Maryland! They weren't selling product before and weren't bringing in enough $$$$ before: I'd take the fucking money too, and so would you, loyalty to a brand's brand being, what's the word, fungible.


Marvin Bell

Of the sleeves, I remember their weight, like wet wool,
on my arms, and the empty ends which hung past my hands.   
Of the body of the shirt, I remember the large buttons   
and larger buttonholes, which made a rack of wheels   
down my chest and could not be quickly unbuttoned.   
Of the collar, I remember its thickness without starch,
by which it lay against my clavicle without moving.   
Of my trousers, the same—heavy, bulky, slow to give   
for a leg, a crowded feeling, a molasses to walk in.   
Of my boots, I remember the brittle soles, of a material   
that had not been made love to by any natural substance,   
and the laces: ropes to make prisoners of my feet.   
Of the helmet, I remember the webbed, inner liner,   
a brittle plastic underwear on which wobbled
the crushing steel pot then strapped at the chin.   
Of the mortar, I remember the mortar plate,
heavy enough to kill by weight, which I carried by rope.   
Of the machine gun, I remember the way it fit
behind my head and across my shoulder blades   
as I carried it, or, to be precise, as it rode me.
Of tactics, I remember the likelihood of shooting
the wrong man, the weight of the rifle bolt, the difficulty   
of loading while prone, the shock of noise.
For earplugs, some used cigarette filters or toilet paper.   
I don’t hear well now, for a man of my age,
and the doctor says my ears were damaged and asks   
if I was in the Army, and of course I was but then   
a wounded eardrum wasn’t much in the scheme.