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Surprised By High School Football Practice In May While Listening to Bessie Smith Sing the Blues on Compact Disc by John Graves Morris article
Surprised By High School Football Practice
In May While Listening to Bessie Smith
Sing the Blues on Compact Disc
The sputtering clutter cleaned up
behind it, a now-stilled female voice,
freed from its amber of old acetate,
rides its full range of motion
and emotion unshackled, subtle, and raw.
It refracts simple words into dazzle,
beats wings and soars into flight
while young men ballooned in pads toil
and sweat on earth. As men, their polo
shirts swelling over healthy paunches,
scream at exhausted lineman to explode into
the bolsters held by teammates and runners
to hurtle themselves into vanishing holes,
Bessie’s eighty-year-old voice moans
“It’s hard to love someone / When
that someone don’t love you.” The boys,
many with fawn-thin legs and dilated
pupils, leap up awkwardly, regroup,
and impale grass-smeared, sodden jerseys
on each other over and over, the men
splitting the air with whistles, providing
punctuation to each ragged sentence,
and barking harsh new imperatives;
the singer’s voice, now preening itself
before some interior mirror, demands
“Better give me what I want, Daddy;
If you don’t, I know someone who will.”
At the other end of the field, toilers
taller and leaner streak to the count,
stutter to shake off clinging opponents
then cross the field like low-flying hawks,
raising up to talon balls as they wobble

(continued with break)
and flutter from the passers’ extended arms.
One stick-thin boy drops the oblong and
before hearing a word from the slow-whistled
man, hits the ground to piston ten pushups,
almost the way Army trainees gung-ho
themselves to curry favor with drill
instructors; the woman now despairs, “Some
of you mens sure do make me tired;
You got a mouth full of gimme, / And
a hand full of much obliged.” Having snorted,
at first, the way he would have
at out-of-season snow, the observer’s
reanimating old dreams begin to snap before 
his eyes like clotheslined sheets. Proceeding
by stagger and muddle, the short and skinny
are here perhaps to pump energy the way
an oil well gushes crude. Some exhibiting
bits of flash aspire to satisfy again
a youthful sweet tooth for glory.
A few, burnished and enameled with muscle
and promise, try to hone talent into genius,
the kind that one day will mambo after
sudden sizzle and crow, “Nobody in town
can bake / A sweet jellyroll like mine.”
John Graves Morris (Bio coming soon)


Caps and Gowns by VICKY SMITH article
Three poems by MICHELLE HARTMAN article
THE NIGHT RUNNER by Richard Dixon article
Two poems by Ann Howells article
Two poems by Joan Colby article
Two poems by DAVID BOWLES article
Three poems by TYLER SHELDON article
Two poems by Kenneth Pobo article
Two poems by Brian Burmeister article
/emotions tough to navigate/ by CLARA B. JONES article
Two poems by Roger Still article
Two poems by Walter Bargen article
Five poems by Terry M Gresham article
Gumbo, Late by Paul Medus article
The Age of Tenderness for Walker Percy by Richard Louis Ray article
Three poems by Jennifer Lagier article
Two poems by Travis Blair article
Two poems by Clarence Wolfshohl article
Strong by Mikayla Riddles article
Four poems by Alan Gann article
Two poems by Sandra Soli article
Two poems by Walter Bargen article
Touring Mausoleums with Vincent Price by Michelle Hartman article
Four poems by Larry D. Thomas article
Arroyo Piño by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish article
SANTA FE FALL AND FOOTHILLS by Richard Dixon article
Three poems by Norbert Krapf article
Hometown, Louisiana: Men by Brent Newsom article
On Jackson Square by Ron Wallace article
Two poems by Clarence Wolfshohl article
Two poems by Ann Howells article
Five poems by Clarence Wolfshohl article
Close Kin by Hank Jones article
Five poems by Abigail Keegan article
Witch Hazel by Norbert Krapf article
At the Center of Holy for Matthew Fox by Norbert Krapf article
Winter Elegy by Norbert Krapf article
Canyon de Chelly Reflections for David Paladin by Norbert Krapf article
Mr. Blues and Etheridge Knight by Norbert Krapf article
CINQUAIN: FIRECRACKER for Laverne Bobbitt by Kenny Fame article
KWANSABA: DONNA SUMMER by Kenny Fame article
She dreamed of running by Jessica Isaacs article
Hide And Seek by Gene McCormick article
Play “Melancholy Baby” by Gene McCormick article
Group Portrait with Backdrop 1999 by Alan Catlin article
A Natural History of Destruction after W. G. Sebald by Alan Catlin article
Keats Walking by Alan Catlin article
One Man’s Alan Berecka article
After the Roll by Alan Berecka article
Blue Dress on a Hanger by Joey Brown article
Blue Dress on a Hanger, Second Take by Joey Brown article
Making by Joey Brown article
Birds Talking Place by Joey Brown article
On the Last Hill Before Oklahoma by Joey Brown article
The Child In The Painting by Samantak Bhadra article
Let's Be Quiet by Samantak Bhadra article
I Didn’t Think it Through by Mathieu Cailler article
What Nobody Knows by Mathieu Cailler article
Gold Watch by Mathieu Cailler article
Somewhere by Mathieu Cailler article
Distance Formula by Robin Scofield article
Learning Spanish Accents in Zacatecas, Mexico by Robin Scofield article
Going Across Paso Del Norte 1992 by Robin Scofield article
Daubigny’s Garden by Robin Scofield article
Nocturne by Nettie Farris article
Toast by Sandra Soli article
Concert Tour by Sandra Soli article
Blue Jay in April by Sandra Soli article
Mosaicist by Patrick Ocampo article
Drowning by Patrick Ocampo article
Feeder On Clearance by Scott Kinder Pyle article
What My Wife’s Ex-Boyfriend Said To Me In The Receiving Line, And What I Hear by Scott Kinder Pyle article
Déjà Vu by Jessica Guzman article
Dinner for Two by Jessica Guzman article
Yellow by Jessica Guzman article
City Arithmetic by Jessica Guzman article
Hurricane Charley by Jessica Guzman article
A Star by Kevin Rabas article
Whatever Happened to Her By Tracy Haught article
Reading Answers by Alan Berecka article
TALKING TO MY RACIST FRIEND by Benjamin Myers article
Near the Channel Islands by Paul Bowers article
THE WANDERING LIGHT by Jonas Zdanys article
THE COLD STEEL OF MORNING by Jonas Zdanys article
THE MIDDAY SUN by Jonas Zdanys article

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