Sunday, December 18, 2011

When I Left Them a While Later I Noticed Their Ungloved Hands and Winter Made Me Selfish and Unsure

Links first for this Special Holiday Bleggalgaze! Please, play along! Using the above links, or your own reiterators of your standard duh and daily suckagain, swap out the nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc as it amuses you in this true story with your own!

Earlier today, the most intriguing athlete bio in the history of athlete bios made the rounds. Zung Nguyen, a 37-year old defenseman for a Boston-area men's hockey league, became an instant legend for this single sentence:


The "D" level is reportedly one of the more "goonish" leagues in the NESHL, and the 41-year-old Bermingham is described by a teammate as a "meathead" who's always looking to scrap. But because fighting is outlawed and grounds for immediate ejection, it's very rare to have an honest bare-knuckled fight. Nguyen, who had zero penalty minutes before this game, wasn't a fighter. A former teammate says he was never particularly crazy, and there are 50 other guys in the league he'd have pegged to pull something like this before Nguyen. Sometimes, you catch a guy on the wrong day.

Players on both sides say Bermingham won the fight clearly—"beat the crap out him," to use one's unfortunate phrase. Both players got unsportsmanlike conduct majors, and game misconducts; their nights were done. As they skated back to their respective locker rooms, a still-furious Nguyen hurled one of Bermingham's gloves over the glass into an empty section of seats.

Just after the second period began, Nguyen emerged from his locker room and went into the seats near where he had thrown Bermingham's glove. Teammates thought Nguyen was going to see his girlfriend, who had come to watch him play. Soon after, he went down to the corner of the arena, a semi-secluded area near where the Zamboni enters the ice. Young Guns players on the bench saw him squatting there, but didn't think anything of it at the time. He then returned the glove to its original spot in the seats.

Midway through the second period, Bermingham came out of his locker room. He had showered and changed and was ready to crack open a beer but needed to collect the last of his scattered equipment. Those gloves were nearly new: this was the second game he had worn them, and the price tag was still on. Bermie went into the seats where it had landed, picked it up, and put his hand in.

As always, fine metaphors abound.


M.L. Smoker

And to think I had just paid a cousin twenty dollars to shovel the walk.
He and two of his buddies, still smelling of an all-nighter,
arrived at 7 am to begin their work.
When I left them a while later I noticed their ungloved hands
and winter made me feel selfish and unsure.
This ground seems unsure of itself
      for its own reasons.
Real spring is still distant
and no one is trying to make themselves believe
this might last, this last unreasonable half hour.
It is six-thirty in eastern Montana and the cold
 has finally given way.
The time is important not because this has been a long winter
or for the fact that it is my first here
since childhood, but because there is so much else
to be unsure of.
         At a time like this
how is it that when I left only a week ago
there were three feet of snow on the ground,
and now there are none, not even a single patch
holding on in the shadow of the fence-line.
          We do not gauge enough of our lives
     by changes in temperature.
When I first began to write poems I was laying claim to battle.
It began with a death and I have tried to say it was unjust,
not because of the actual dying but because of what
was left.  What time of year was that?
I have still not yet learned to write of war.
I have friends who speak out--as is necessary--with subtle
and unsubtle force. But I am from
this place and a great deal has been going wrong 
         for some time now.
The two young Indian boys who might have drowned
last night in the fast-rising creek near school
are casualties enough for me.
          There have been too many
just like them and I have no way to fix these things.
A friend from Boston wrote something to me last week
about not have the intelligence
to take as subject for his poems
anything other than his own life.
For a while now I have sensed this in my own mood:
this poem was never supposed to mention
itself, other writers, or me.
          But I will not regret the boys who made it home,
or the cousins who used the money at the bar.
Still, something is being lost here and there are no lights
on this street; enough mud remains on our feet
to carry with us into the house.