NaPoWriMo 2023 (Day 1)

Yesterday, I muffed the first day’s poem of the NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) challenge because I did not write mine. I was too busy, then I was too tired. My driveling twaddle needs no other obstacles.

But we may play catch-up in this 30-day challenge. It’s 30 poems in 30 days, not necessarily one each day. But that does mean I may/will post two or three times (if I do the Sammi thingy) today. That’s a normal week’s worth for me.

I write to the prompts given at Yesterday’s poem was to be based upon a book cover. I recently bought Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, by H. G. Bissinger. I wrote a poem inspired by the jacket cover (photos by Rob Clark, Jr./Jacket design by Paul Bacon). Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., publishers.


Not Only Texas

Three darkly clad gladiators of the eventual eleven,
clasp hands
and march together
into the night, onto the place where town heroes are made for life,
where cheers and tears are looked forward to—
all year long, where football is not only king,
but the guiding force called team, spelled without an “I”
(one of many lies) that makes boys gods whose Gods can’t help them.

It’s like a religion, but it’s not the same.
These minor gods are transient. Heaven is winning a game.
The game gives them reason. The stadium,
their fields, like churches with gridiron pews
and endzones as altars with goalpost frames.

Hymns are cheers from stands
led by beautifully clad encouragement,
perchance a mascot,
yelling is encouraged raucousness. Defeat is deeply felt.

It’s serious business, American football.
But in the black-and-white towns of Texas with teams,
lifetime memories
are set in shaded darkness under the illumination
of Friday night lights after rallies, the breaking
of barriers, of illegal prayers to Jesus Christ,
their Lord and Savior who cares greatly
about high school football and who wins.

The God of the human godlings who will endow
the favored with great plays and touchdowns.
“Thank you, Jesus, for this blessed win.”
The game where the best and worst pupils become one,
where ending segregation with despised integration created championships,
and later,
millionaires would rise from denied memories.

The three, a darkly clad trio, of the eventual eleven, no! thousands,
clasp hands and march together into the night,
feeling and hearing the cheers and adoration,
for most,
is fleeting at best.
And the band played well.

Look both ways, offense-or-defense, we are not all playing by the same rules.
Mind the gaps, the fumbles, the muffs, the broken bodies, and ubiquitous concussions.
Rave on! The band!

Note: This is the 20th year for this challenge. My congratulations to all poets and to Maureen Thorson, along with my thanks, for keeping poetry and writing it what it is: wonderfulness.


20 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo 2023 (Day 1)

  1. Wow, with the length of your poem, I’m not surprised you didn’t manage to write one yesterday! I hope I can respond to the prompts every day in one way or another. It usually takes me a bit longer to produce a finished poem, but I guess, nothing stops me from revisiting my pieces. Good luck for your NaPoWriMo. Let’s hope that in 28 days’ time, we can congratulate each other on thirty poems each.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m going backwards, as you can see. Lost control of my inbox again and frankly, with all o’ y’all participating in NaPoBlahBlah, my inbox is bulging. That said, I do have my fave writers (and you know you are one) so I will strive to keep up.
    This is très à propos, Bill. Football is a religion and what do we have in religion? A shitload of sinners who think they can get away with heinous crimes all in the name of being the best in the game the state prays for, and forgives the sins as long as they are winning.
    Excellent poem, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dale.
      I need to get busy with my email. And I need to respond to the Sammi weekenders,

      My grandson is a big (6-4/310+) deal football player in a small Texas town. He likes it.

      Since his mom, Julie, is much like me regarding religion and god stuff, but his love interest he accompanies to church, I do not know his truth. But my bet is that Football is indeed his religion, for now. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I keep wanting to and then find myself working on something else and not much gets published!

        Isn’t he also a wrestler?.

        And I am not surprised your daughter is much like you. The things boys do for girls… I’m sure his basic religion has not changed 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No. Texas does not have (officially) wrestling at that age. But I did it. He is a powerlifter. He was leading in his (superheavyweight) class and was sure to win regionals when he attempted a personal record deadlift. He dropped 550 pound and they disqualified him (and six others), thus ineligible for State. The kid who went to state had placed 7th. What a hoot! Julie often thanks me for brainwashing her in any religion.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Silly me! I knew it was powerlifter. I don’t know why I said wrestling! Had a brain fart – apologies! Disqualified! Bummer.
        So he also plays football?
        I bet she does!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. There we go. And of course it’s shot put (in grade 11, track – I was a high jumper, long jumper, 100m runner – I surprised myself with being not so bad at shot put)

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Basketball in elementary (I was tall but not good) school and wrestling in HS. In no way was I a well-behaved child/teenager.

        I was somewhere between Danny Zuko or Keniekie Murdoch (but not as lucky) and Ferris Bueller (but not as clever or smart). Anyway–a long time ago on a planet far, far away. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Elementary, we had basketball, cosom hockey, gymnastics and track & field – I made the team in all of ’em 😉 High school was basketball which they changed to handball (I didn’t like it) and then volleyball. We always had track at the end of the year and held our “Olympiades”. I love the Zuko/Kenikie/Ferris triangle. I feel mine is an eon ago (42! What???)

        Why am I not surprised that you were not well-behaved? I wasn’t exactly a good girl, either.

        Liked by 1 person

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